Meningitis In The News
Recent news items about cases of meningococcal disease may be causing concern. With initial symptoms that are difficult to distinguish from those of other infectious illnesses, particularly flu-like illnesses, suspecting meningococcal disease is worrisome.
Symptoms usually progress quickly to a severe illness, often within 24 hours so acting promptly, and frequently checking on a sick person (at least every hour) is vital. A sick person should not remain on their own.
Seek immediate medical attention if they deteriorate.
Calling the Practice Nurse to review symptoms and plan appropriate treatment is warranted if these symptoms are noticed:
Infants may have: a more gradual onset than adults, fever, cry, appear unsettled, feed poorly, vomit, be sleepy or hard to wake, dislike bright light, or have a rash or spots. They may have a bulging fontanelle.
Older children and adults may have: a fever, malaise, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and pains, drowsiness, headache, dislike of bright light, neck stiffness, or have a rash or spots.
Individuals may also present with atypical symptoms, including gastrointestinal symptoms, pneumonia, septic arthritis, endocarditis and breathing or swallowing difficulties.
Almost 80% of cases will develop a rash that does not blanch (become pale/go white) when pressed on. This type of rash is often a late sign of infection.
There are two different vaccines to cover the main circulating strains of meningococcal disease and their schedules vary according to age. If you need more information please call and discuss with a nurse.