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People who died from Meningitis

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People who died from Meningitis

Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges.

The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord; therefore, the condition is classified as a medical emergency.

In 2013 meningitis occurred in about 16 million people worldwide This resulted in 303,000 deaths – down from 464,000 deaths in 1990. With appropriate treatment the risk of death in bacterial meningitis is less than 15%. Outbreaks of bacterial meningitis occur between December and June each year in an area of sub-Saharan Africa known as the meningitis belt. Smaller outbreaks may also occur in other areas of the world. The word meningitis is from Greek μῆνιγξ méninx, "membrane" and the medical suffix -itis, "inflammation".

Causes

Meningitis is typically caused by an infection with microorganisms. Most infections are due to viruses, with bacteria, fungi, and protozoa being the next most common causes.  It may also result from various non-infectious causes.

Prognosis

Untreated, bacterial meningitis is almost always fatal. Viral meningitis, in contrast, tends to resolve spontaneously and is rarely fatal. With treatment, mortality (risk of death) from bacterial meningitis depends on the age of the person and the underlying cause.

Epidemiology

Although meningitis is a notifiable disease in many countries, the exact incidence rate is unknown. In 2010 it was estimated that meningitis resulted in 420,000 deaths, excluding cryptococcal meningitis. In 2013 meningitis resulted in 303,000 deaths – down from 464,000 deaths in 1990.

Most cases of meningitis in the U.S. are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial and fungal infections are other causes. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks. Others can be life-threatening and require emergent antibiotic treatment.

Bacterial meningitis occurs in about 3 people per 100,000 annually in Western countries. Population-wide studies have shown that viral meningitis is more common, at 10.9 per 100,000, and occurs more often in the summer. In Brazil, the rate of bacterial meningitis is higher, at 45.8 per 100,000 annually. Sub-Saharan Africa has been plagued by large epidemics of meningococcal meningitis for over a century, leading to it being labeled the "meningitis belt". Epidemics typically occur in the dry season (December to June), and an epidemic wave can last two to three years, dying out during the intervening rainy seasons. Attack rates of 100–800 cases per 100,000 are encountered in this area, which is poorly served by medical care. These cases are predominantly caused by meningococci. The largest epidemic ever recorded in history swept across the entire region in 1996–1997, causing over 250,000 cases and 25,000 deaths.

History

Some suggest that Hippocrates may have realized the existence of meningitis, and it seems that meningism was known to pre-Renaissance physicians such as Avicenna. The description of tuberculous meningitis, then called "dropsy in the brain", is often attributed to Edinburgh physician Sir Robert Whytt in a posthumous report that appeared in 1768, although the link with tuberculosis and its pathogen was not made until the next century.

It appears that epidemic meningitis is a relatively recent phenomenon. The first recorded major outbreak occurred in Geneva in 1805. Several other epidemics in Europe and the United States were described shortly afterward, and the first report of an epidemic in Africa appeared in 1840. African epidemics became much more common in the 20th century, starting with a major epidemic sweeping Nigeria and Ghana in 1905–1908.

The first report of bacterial infection underlying meningitis was by the Austrian bacteriologist Anton Weichselbaum, who in 1887 described the meningococcus. Mortality from meningitis was very high (over 90%) in early reports. In 1906, antiserum was produced in horses; this was developed further by the American scientist Simon Flexner and markedly decreased mortality from meningococcal disease. In 1944, penicillin was first reported to be effective in meningitis. The introduction in the late 20th century of Haemophilus vaccines led to a marked fall in cases of meningitis associated with this pathogen, and in 2002, evidence emerged that treatment with steroids could improve the prognosis of bacterial meningitis. World Meningitis Day is celebrated on the 24th of April each year.

Bacterial Meningitis


Meningitis caused by bacteria, like Streptococcus pneumoniae, group B Streptococcus, and Neisseria meningitidis can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Vaccines are available to help protect against some kinds of bacterial meningitis. (https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html)

Viral Meningitis


Meningitis caused by viruses, like enteroviruses, arboviruses and herpes simplex viruses, is serious but often is less severe than bacterial meningitis, and people with normal immune systems usually get better on their own.  There are vaccines to prevent some kinds of viral meningitis. (https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html)

Fungal Meningitis


Fungal meningitis is caused by fungi like Cryptococcus and Histoplasma and is usually acquired by inhaling fungal spores from the environment. People with certain medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, or HIV are at higher risk of fungal meningitis. (https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/fungal.html)

Parasitic Meningitis


Various parasites can cause meningitis or can affect the brain or nervous system in other ways. Overall, parasitic meningitis is much less common than viral and bacterial meningitis. (https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/parasitic.html)

Amebic Meningitis


Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) is a rare and devastating infection of the brain that is caused by a free-living microscopic ameba called Naegleria fowleri which is found naturally in warm water and soil. (https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/amebic.html)

Non-Infectious Meningitis


Sometimes meningitis is not spread from person to person, but is instead caused by cancers, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), certain drugs, head injury, and brain surgery. (https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/non-infectious.html)

People who Died from Meningitis:

Additional Reading:

  1. Wikipedia Meningitis
  2. CDC Bacterial Meningitis
  3. Mayo Clinic Meningitis
  4. WebMD Meningitis - Topic Overview
  5. Encyclopedia.com Meningitis
  6. Healthline Meningitis: Pictures of Rash

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