Bacterial Meningitis is an acute bacterial disease that results in an infection of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord.
Signs and symptoms include stiff neck, high fever, headache, or a dark purple rash. The symptoms often progress very quickly and within 12-24 hours after the development of symptoms, a person may already be very ill.
Anyone with symptoms suggestive of bacterial meningitis should see a medical provider immediately—early diagnosis and treatment is important. Treatment of this illness includes antibiotics and supportive care.
Meningococcal disease is contagious. It is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. Generally only close contact of an infected person, such as a household member or boyfriend/girlfriend, are at risk of becoming infected themselves.
It is not a disease that is spread by casual contact or breathing the same air as an infected individual. It is recommended that close contacts of an individual with meningococcal disease be treated with antibiotics to prevent the illness.
There are vaccines available to prevent against the spread of some of the most common strains of meningococcal bacteria. The vaccine is recommended for all high risk groups and for college students living in dormitories. The vaccine is available by appointment at Wilcox Medical.