Definition of Meningitis: Symptoms, Causes, Factors, and Treatment, and Prevention

Meningitis is an inflammation that occurs in the Meningen, which is the protective coating that envelops the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is sometimes difficult to identify, as the disease has early symptoms similar to flu, such as fever and headache.

Definition of Meningitis: Symptoms, causes, factors, and treatment, prevention
Meningitis can be caused by many things, such as bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infections. Certain conditions, such as the weakening of the body's immune system, can also trigger the emergence of meningitis.

All age groups are potentially infected with meningitis, including infants. When meningitis is not treated appropriately, this condition can deteriorate and trigger complications such as seizures and renal failure.

Symptoms and factors of Meningitis triggers

Although the symptoms were initially similar to the flu, meningitis should still be wary of, as it can also cause seizures and stiffness in the neck. In infants under 2 years of age, meningitis is generally characterized by raising a lump in the head.

There are several factors that can trigger meningitis, among others:

  • Infection with germs.
  • Diseases of cancer and lupus.
  • Drug side effects and brain surgery.


Risk of meningitis will also increase in mothers who are pregnant or forget to undergo immunizations.

How to treat and prevent Meningitis

Treatment of meningitis generally varies depending on the cause. For example, a doctor may prescribe antimicrobial drugs, or perform other therapies when meningitis is caused by cancer or lupus.

This disease can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding conditions that can trigger the spread of infection. To increase immunity from germs causing meningitis, vaccinate according to doctor's recommendation.

Meningitis Symptoms

Symptoms of meningitis may vary depending on the type, age and severity of the patient's condition. Common symptoms in meningitis sufferers older than 2 years include:

  • High fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Heavy headache
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep is too tight
  • Rash
  • Decreased appetite


In infants or children under 2 years old, some symptoms are generally similar to meningitis sufferers aged over 2 years, such as high fever, sleep disorders, decreased appetite, and stiffness of the neck. However, there are some other more specific symptoms, such as there is a lump in the head and the baby continues to cry. When these symptoms arise, the patient should immediately get the appropriate treatment.

Cause of Meningitis

Based on the cause, meningitis is divided into several types, namely:

Bacterial Meningitis. This type of Meningitis is caused by bacteria and can be infectious. Bacteria that cause meningitis include:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae. These bacteria are usually found in the nose, sinus, and respiratory tract.
  • Neisseria meningitidis. These bacteria spread through saliva or mucous respiratory tract.
  • Haemophilus influenza. Haemophilus influenza type B or Hib is a type of bacteria that can cause meningitis in children. In addition to meningitis, these bacteria can also cause infections of the blood, throat, skin, and joints.
  • Listeria monocytogenes. This type of bacteria is commonly found in foods such as melon, cheese, and raw vegetables.
  • Staphylococcus aureus. This type of bacteria is commonly found in the skin and respiratory tract.


Viral Meningitis. This condition only causes symptoms that are relatively mild and can recover by itself. Virus-induced Meningitis can be more easily spread than those caused by bacteria. Viruses that cause meningitis include an enterovirus group virus, herpes simplex virus, HIV, West Nile virus, and Coltivirus. These viruses can spread through the air, such as when sneezing or coughing, sharing the use of personal belongings, or touching contaminated objects.

Fungal Meningitis. Meningitis caused by fungi is still quite rare. This type of Meningitis usually attacks a person who has a weak immune system, such as cancer sufferers and AIDS. Some of the types of fungi that can cause meningitis are cryptococcus, Blastomyces, Histoplasma, and Coccidioides. Mushrooms are generally found in animal impurities such as birds and bats. The spread of fungi can be through the soil or dust that is contaminated and inhalation by the patient.

Parasitic Meningitis. Parasitic causes of meningitis, such as Angiostrongylus cantonensis and Procyonist Baylisascaris, are not propagated through direct contact. These parasites are generally found in the results of the Earth, as well as dirt, food, and animals such as snails, fish, poultry. Eating food based on the animal or doing activities like swimming potentially infected parasites cause meningitis.

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Meningitis can also be triggered by the patient's condition, such as head injury, cancer, and lupus. Use of certain medications or have undergone medical actions such as brain surgery may also trigger the emergence of meningitis.

Also, there are other factors that can cause meningitis, including:

  • Age. Generally, viral meningitis appears in children under 5 years of age, and bacterial meningitis appears in children under 20 years of age.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnancy increases the potential for meningitis caused by Listeria bacteria. This condition can cause complications in pregnant women in the form of miscarriage.
  • Live in a crowded environment, like a student living in a dorm.
  • Skip the vaccination schedule. The risk will increase if the patient passes the vaccination schedule that the doctor has recommended.


Diagnose of Meningitis

In diagnosing meningitis, the doctor initially conducts a physical examination, observing the potential for the cause of meningitis in the patient's residence, asking for a history of illness or medical action that has been undertaken, and examining the risk factors Other. Then, the examination can be continued by conducting a test to find out the exact cause of meningitis. The tests can be:
  • Blood tests. The doctor will take a blood sample of the patient to then be examined further. This examination aims to see if the microorganisms are harmful in the blood of the patient.
  • Imaging. A CT scan or MRI can be performed to examine swelling or inflammation around the head.
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). In this test, cerebrospinal fluid is used as a sample to diagnose meningitis. Meningitis sufferers generally have a low sugar content and occur on the number of white blood cells and proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid.

The doctor may also conduct a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or a test that works by examining antibodies in the body, if the existing meningitis is suspected to be caused by a virus.

There is also a simple test that can be done to examine meningitis. The test only uses glass as its medium. The doctor will emphasize the glass on the skin area that has a rash. When the rash is pressed with glasses not fading, the rash may be a rash in meningitis sufferers.

Treatment of Meningitis

Treatment of meningitis should be adjusted to the cause.
  • Viral Meningitis. In certain conditions, meningitis caused by viruses can be recovered by itself. However, if the condition of meningitis caused by a virus is severe, the doctor may prescribe antiviral medication, such as acyclovir. The doctor will also advise the patient with viral meningitis to adequately rest and multiply drinking water.
  • Bacterial Meningitis. In meningitis caused by bacteria, treatment can be given in the form of antibiotics or corticosteroids. The doctor will adjust the antibiotic used with meningitis-causing bacteria. Some antibiotics commonly used to treat meningitis are cephalosporins, such as Cefotaxim and ceftriaxone. In addition to treating bacterial meningitis, antibiotic use also lowers the potential for complications, such as seizures or swelling of the brain.
  • Fungal Meningitis. Meningitis caused by fungi is treated with antifungal medication, such as amphotericin B or fluconazole. The doctor will adjust the type of medication and dose with the patient condition.

In overcoming other types of meningitis, the doctor will adjust the treatment with the accompanying cause. If meningitis is caused by conditions such as cancer or autoimmune diseases, the doctor will recommend a therapy or medication aimed at addressing the condition.

Complications of Meningitis

Complications arising from meningitis in each person may vary. Here are some of the possible complications:
  • Loss of Vision
  • Seizures
  • Memory disorders
  • Migraine
  • Hearing Loss
  • Arthritis or inflammations
  • Renal failure
  • Shock
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Brain damage
  • Hydrocephalus

Prevention of Meningitis

Prevention of meningitis can be done by reducing the likelihood of spreading the infection and changing the lifestyle to be healthier. Some of the efforts below can be done in preventing meningitis:
  • Adequate rest
  • Avoiding cigarette smoke
  • Keep the distance with infected people
  • Wash your hands every time
  • Routine exercise
  • Do not share food or personal items
  • Use a mask
  • Choose food that has been pasteurized

In addition to the above attempts, meningitis prevention can also be done by receiving vaccinations or immunizations. Vaccine administration aims to protect patients from causes such as bacteria or viruses. Some vaccines used to prevent meningitis include:
  • Pneumococcal vaccine. This vaccine provides protection against pneumococcal bacteria.
  • Vaccine Hib. This vaccine protects patients from bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type B meningitis causes.
  • MenC vaccine. This vaccine protects patients from meningococcal bacteria in group C.
  • MMR vaccine. MMR vaccines serve to protect patients from conditions that trigger meningitis, such as Gondongan, measles, and rubella.
  • ACWY vaccine. This vaccine provides protection in patients with meningococcal bacteria of groups A, C, W, and Y.
  • Vaccine meningitis B. B meningitis vaccine serves to protect patients from meningococcal type B bacteria.

Vaccine Administration should be adjusted to the patient's lifespan. Consult a proper vaccine related physician with the condition.

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