Do you know what the symptoms of meningitis are? This is a relatively well-known endemic disease in Brazil. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) provided by the Secretary of Health of Ceará, in our country alone, between 2007 and 2020, 265 thousand cases of the disease were confirmed. Worldwide, there are an estimated 135,000 deaths per year, out of a total of 1.2 million cases.
Know the main symptoms of meningitis it is critical to seek medical help and receive proper treatment. Pediatrician Fabiane Durão talked to our team about this subject and answered the main questions about what meningitis is, forms of prevention and treatment. Check out!
what is meningitis? Know the symptoms and types of the disease
Meningitis is actually an infectious-inflammatory process. “Meningitis is an infection that occurs in the meninges. Meninges are membranes that cover the entire central nervous system, which is made up of the brain (brain) and the spinal cord,” explains Dr. Fabian. Another interesting point is that it is not a single disease: “There are several types of meningitis. It can be bacterial, viral, tuberculous and fungal.
Despite being caused by different microorganisms, some symptoms of meningitis are very generalized, facilitating the doctor’s suspicion at the time of consultation. “The main symptoms of meningitis are headachefever, dizziness, vomiting, prostration, difficulty placing the chin on the chest, which may lead to seizures”, explains the professional.
“It is essential to go to the emergency room when you cannot lower the fever with the antipyretic, when the headache is very severe and does not improve with analgesic or in case of convulsions, intense prostration and fainting”, reinforces the pediatrician.
vaccine for meningitis is the main prevention
Viral meningitis and fungal meningitis are usually less aggressive than bacterial and tuberculous. Still, all types of meningitis are extremely dangerous and can lead to death, especially children. Ah, it is worth noting that the disease is contagious! Therefore, it is very important to work on preventing this problem. The best way, without a doubt, is to comply with the childhood vaccination schedule properly – yes, meningitis has a vaccine!
Immunization is available for some types of bacterial meningitis and also for tuberculous. According to the Ministry of Health, there are seven vaccines available free of charge in the SUS for the prevention of meningitis, which can start to be applied from the second month of life, requiring, in some cases, extra doses over the years.
If the disease has already set in and the symptoms of meningitis have already appeared, it is possible to treat the condition with medical help: “The disease is treated with antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, corticoids and analgesics. Everything will depend on the cause of the problem”, explains Dr. Fabian. For the most part, the severe forms of meningitis are treated in a hospital environment, requiring hospitalization and rest. The viral one can be accompanied indoors with treatment of symptoms.
Data from the Ministry of Health: https://www.gov.br/saude/pt-br/assuntos/saude-de-a-a-z/m/meningite/situacao-epidemiologica
Data from the Secretary of Health of Ceará: https://www.saude.ce.gov.br/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2018/06/boletim_meningites_30_05_2018.pdf