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Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment, while bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, but new vaccines being given to all children as part of their routine immunizations have reduced the occurrence of invasive disease due to H. influenzae. Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.
First symptoms of meningitis

First symptoms of meningitis

Thankfully, meningitis is a rare condition. Although it can occur in anyone, it's more prevalent in babies and young children, with young people and students being the next most at risk group. In the early stages, it can be very difficult to tell meningitis apart from milder diseases, as it often resembles other common viral illnesses. Symptoms of the disease can develop very quickly. [More]
Important vaccines that should not be missed by adults, elders and pregnant women

Important vaccines that should not be missed by adults, elders and pregnant women

Vaccines are an important part of routine healthcare for adults, seniors and women who are pregnant. [More]
Vaccine campaign targeting freshers could hold key to reducing spread of meningitis

Vaccine campaign targeting freshers could hold key to reducing spread of meningitis

A campaign targeted at students arriving at university for the first time could hold the key to reducing the spread of meningitis and septicaemia, say researchers at the universities of Nottingham and Leicester. [More]
Could pathogen infection really lead to Alzheimer’s?

Could pathogen infection really lead to Alzheimer’s?

New concepts of infectious disease are evolving with the realization that pathogens are key players in the development of progressive chronic diseases that originally were not thought to be infectious. Infection is well-known to be associated with numerous neurological diseases for which... [More]
Researchers finding way to manipulate signals in bacteria to reduce infections

Researchers finding way to manipulate signals in bacteria to reduce infections

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy has received a five-year, $1.25 million federal grant to continue its research into how bacteria that cause streptococcal infections can be manipulated. [More]
Texas A&M specialist explains what people need to know about mumps

Texas A&M specialist explains what people need to know about mumps

Mumps may seem like a contagion relegated to history books, but like many other diseases of the past now preventable with a vaccine, mumps has been making a resurgence. [More]
Researchers discover powerful immune cell in the brain that may play key role in neurological diseases

Researchers discover powerful immune cell in the brain that may play key role in neurological diseases

A rare and powerful type of immune cell has been discovered in the meninges around the brain, suggesting the cells may play a critical but previously unappreciated role in battling Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, meningitis and other neurological diseases, in addition to supporting our healthy mental functioning. [More]
ECDC report finds increasing trend of Listeria infections among elderly population

ECDC report finds increasing trend of Listeria infections among elderly population

Listeriosis affected about 2,200 people in 2015, causing 270 deaths - the highest number ever reported in the EU. [More]
NIH scientists create Salmonella-infected mouse model to study life-threatening meningitis

NIH scientists create Salmonella-infected mouse model to study life-threatening meningitis

National Institutes of Healthscientists have established in mice a way to study potentially life-threatening meningitis caused by Salmonella. [More]
Awareness of signs and symptoms of meningitis remains worryingly low among UK parents, research reveals

Awareness of signs and symptoms of meningitis remains worryingly low among UK parents, research reveals

Thirty-eight per cent of parents in the UK think a distinctive rash is the first symptom of meningitis, despite the fact it often appears after other symptoms, or not at all, according to new research from GSK. [More]
Two widely prescribed antibiotics may combat bacteria differently than previously thought

Two widely prescribed antibiotics may combat bacteria differently than previously thought

Two widely prescribed antibiotics -- chloramphenicol and linezolid -- may fight bacteria in a different way from what scientists and doctors thought for years, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have found. [More]
Poor, remote Indigenous Australians have increased risk of sexually transmissible infections

Poor, remote Indigenous Australians have increased risk of sexually transmissible infections

A unique 21-year study of more than 2.4 million cases of infectious disease across Australia reveals a major social divide where being poorer, living remotely or being an Indigenous Australian means having an increased risk of sexually transmissible infections (STIs). [More]
Scientists uncover how microbes invade the brain in bacterial meningitis

Scientists uncover how microbes invade the brain in bacterial meningitis

Simon Fraser University researcher Lisa Craig is part of an international team that has uncovered new details about a microbe that invades the brain, sometimes with fatal results. [More]
Simple blood test can quickly detect serious infections in children

Simple blood test can quickly detect serious infections in children

Using a simple decision rule and a finger prick to test blood, general practitioners can now detect serious infections in children very quickly. This ensures that seriously ill children don't have to wait for a diagnosis until they're hospitalized - a delay that may have fatal consequences. [More]
Women infected with Rift Valley fever virus have increased risk of miscarriages

Women infected with Rift Valley fever virus have increased risk of miscarriages

The mosquito-borne Rift Valley fever virus has been linked to miscarriage in humans. A study of 130 pregnant Sudanese women with fever showed that the risk of miscarriage was seven times greater if the woman was infected with Rift Valley fever virus. [More]
New less invasive method could detect bacterial infection in young febrile infants

New less invasive method could detect bacterial infection in young febrile infants

Physicians from Children's Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University, UC Davis Medical Center and Nationwide Children's Hospital, in collaboration with 19 other pediatric emergency departments around the country, have established a "proof of principle" for measuring patterns of ribonucleic acid (RNA) expression in the bloodstream that can enable clinicians to distinguish bacterial infections from other causes of fever in infants up to two months old. [More]
CHORI scientists reveal improved protective antibody responses to new meningococcal vaccine

CHORI scientists reveal improved protective antibody responses to new meningococcal vaccine

A study conducted by UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute scientists shows greatly improved protective antibody responses to a new mutant vaccine antigen for prevention of disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis - also known as meningococcus - that has the potential to improve the current vaccines for meningitis. [More]
New blood test helps identify bacterial infection in infants with fever

New blood test helps identify bacterial infection in infants with fever

A blood test used to measure patterns of ribonucleic acid (RNA) expression can help determine if fever in infants under 2 months old is caused by bacterial or viral infection, according to a preliminary study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. [More]
Investigational biomarker surpasses current gold standard test for identifying brain shunt infections

Investigational biomarker surpasses current gold standard test for identifying brain shunt infections

In a study of children with brain shunts at Children's of Alabama, a University of Alabama at Birmingham investigational biomarker outperformed the current "gold standard" test for detecting bacterial infections in the shunts. [More]
Naturally-occurring sugars in woman's breast milk may protect infants against life threatening bacteria

Naturally-occurring sugars in woman's breast milk may protect infants against life threatening bacteria

A type of sugar found naturally in some women's breast milk may protect newborn babies from infection with a potentially life threatening bacterium called Group B streptococcus, according to a new study from Imperial College London. [More]
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