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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.
Valley fever diagnosis often overlooked by primary care physicians

Valley fever diagnosis often overlooked by primary care physicians

For patients with pneumonia or ongoing influenza-like symptoms who live in or have visited the west or southwest United States, especially Arizona and central California, infectious diseases experts recommend physicians suspect valley fever, an often-overlooked fungal infection. [More]
Exposure to atmospheric dust, high temperatures can increase risk of bacterial meningitis

Exposure to atmospheric dust, high temperatures can increase risk of bacterial meningitis

Exposure to airborne dust and high temperatures are significant risk factors for bacterial meningitis, a new study by the University of Liverpool's Institute of Infection and Global Health has found. [More]
Researchers design E. coli-based transport capsule to help fight pneumococcal disease

Researchers design E. coli-based transport capsule to help fight pneumococcal disease

Most people recoil at the thought of ingesting E. coli. But what if the headline-grabbing bacteria could be used to fight disease? [More]
Structures on surface of pneumococci determine bacteria’s ability to cause meningitis

Structures on surface of pneumococci determine bacteria’s ability to cause meningitis

Structures on the surface of pneumococci determine the ability of these bacteria to enter the brain and cause severe infections, according to a paper published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation by researchers at Karolinska Institutet. [More]
Researchers find new way for treating GBS infection in neonates

Researchers find new way for treating GBS infection in neonates

Researchers have discovered how the bacteria Group B streptococcus (GBS) avoids detection by the immune system during pregnancy. [More]
Anthrax capsule vaccine offers protection from deadly anthrax infection in monkeys

Anthrax capsule vaccine offers protection from deadly anthrax infection in monkeys

Vaccination with the anthrax capsule--a naturally occurring component of the bacterium that causes the disease--completely protected monkeys from lethal anthrax infection, according to a study published online this week in the journal VACCINE. [More]
Experts use next-generation genetic sequencing to diagnose suspected brain infections

Experts use next-generation genetic sequencing to diagnose suspected brain infections

In a proof-of-principle study, a team of physicians and bioinformatics experts at Johns Hopkins reports they were able to diagnose or rule out suspected brain infections using so called next-generation genetic sequencing of brain tissue samples. [More]
Scientists explore effects of physiological fluid shear on dangerous type of Salmonella

Scientists explore effects of physiological fluid shear on dangerous type of Salmonella

Once inside the human body, infectious microbes like Salmonella face a fluid situation. They live in a watery world, surrounded by liquid continually flowing over and abrading their cell surfaces--a property known as fluid shear. [More]
New immunization approach may one day wipe out pneumonia, meningitis

New immunization approach may one day wipe out pneumonia, meningitis

A new vaccine allows pneumonia-causing bacteria to colonize inside the body, springing into action only if the bacteria pose a threat. [More]
Common angina drug can stimulate patient's own white blood cells to combat cryptococcosis

Common angina drug can stimulate patient's own white blood cells to combat cryptococcosis

A drug, more commonly used in the treatment of angina, could be the focus of a new strategy in fighting the fatal fungal infection cryptococcosis [More]
Maternal vaccination against influenza can reduce flu risk in newborns

Maternal vaccination against influenza can reduce flu risk in newborns

Each year, influenza causes between 250,000 and half a million deaths around the world. Pregnant women and young infants have a higher risk of complications related to influenza; these complications can easily lead to death. [More]
Rome IV criteria helps diagnose, treat gastrointestinal conditions in children

Rome IV criteria helps diagnose, treat gastrointestinal conditions in children

A child feels nauseated all the time, but no medical test can find what is wrong. Or a child vomits regularly, but there's no illness or eating disorder to explain it. These, and other stomach and bowel-related problems with no obvious causes, are called functional gastrointestinal disorders. [More]
Cryptococcus research: an interview with Associate Professor Kirsten Nielsen

Cryptococcus research: an interview with Associate Professor Kirsten Nielsen

Cryptococcus is a fungus found in the environment throughout the world that is able to cause disease in humans. While most fungal pathogens don’t receive as much press as their bacterial or viral counterparts, they can be just as deadly. [More]
Study evaluates effects of corticosteroids along with anti-tuberculosis drugs in tuberculous meningitis

Study evaluates effects of corticosteroids along with anti-tuberculosis drugs in tuberculous meningitis

The Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group have carried out a review update to evaluate the effects of corticosteroids being used alongside anti-tuberculosis medication to treat people suffering from tuberculous meningitis. [More]
Criminology theory to combat counterfeit, sub-standard medicines

Criminology theory to combat counterfeit, sub-standard medicines

Around the world, especially in developing nations, counterfeit medicines are a real problem. Until now, in many countries there hasn't been a standard protocol to conduct investigations and pursue prosecution. [More]
WHO outlines steps to close immunization gap across countries during World Immunization Week 2016

WHO outlines steps to close immunization gap across countries during World Immunization Week 2016

During World Immunization Week 2016, held 24-30 April, the World Health Organization highlights recent gains in immunization coverage, and outlines further steps countries can take to “Close the Immunization Gap” and meet global vaccination targets by 2020. [More]
New mouse model to aid in development of antiviral compounds, vaccines against Zika virus

New mouse model to aid in development of antiviral compounds, vaccines against Zika virus

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine have developed one of the first mouse models for the study of Zika virus. The model will allow researchers to better understand how the virus causes disease and aid in the development of antiviral compounds and vaccines. [More]
MGH-led study confirms safety of allergy immunotherapy

MGH-led study confirms safety of allergy immunotherapy

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found no evidence of infections related to administration of allergy immunotherapy, the common practice of injecting minimal quantities of allergens beneath the skin to reduce the allergic response. [More]
New data from studies evaluating diagnostic tools, therapies for infectious diseases released at ECCMID 2016

New data from studies evaluating diagnostic tools, therapies for infectious diseases released at ECCMID 2016

New data from ten late-breaking abstracts is released at ECCMID 2016 – the annual meeting of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease. [More]
Guardian system can predict risk of dangerous diseases

Guardian system can predict risk of dangerous diseases

If an infectious disease outbreak or an attack using an agent such as anthrax were to occur in Chicago, it most likely first will be noticed in emergency rooms throughout the city. Swift identification of the cause of an incoming patients' illness could be crucial to public health and safety personnel being able to intervene in time to save lives. [More]
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