I'm temporarily switching my Diva hat for my Nurse's hat.
By now I'm sure the majority of you have heard about the Fungal Meningitis outbreak spreading across the USA. This week I cared for a healthy young adult male who somehow contracted Viral Meningitis. During my time as a pediatric nurse I cared for several children who had contracted Bacterial Meningitis.
Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache, neck stiffness, fever, confusion, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises. Unfortunately, children exhibit nonspecific signs and symptoms when infected such as irritability, drowsiness, and a rash. A lumbar puncture is used to diagnosis meningitis.
The signs and symptoms of the varieties of meningitis may be the same but, all is NOT created equal. Viral meningitis is caused by a virus. There is no specific treatment for viral meningitis, and it will typically resolve on its own in about a week. Some cases of viral meningitis do require some medical treatment, such as steroids.
Bacterial meningitis is the most common type of meningitis in children. This type of meningitis is highly contagious, and is the cause of outbreaks of meningitis among college campuses and schools. Bacterial meningitis is dangerous. If it goes untreated it can lead to serious complications such as seizures, blindness, deafness, permanent neurological damage, learning disabilities, brain damage, paralysis or even death.
Fungal meningitis is not contagious and is relatively rare. Fungal meningitis is the result of the spread of a fungus through blood to the spinal cord. According to the FDA the multistate fungal meningitis outbreak is due to patients receiving contaminated steroid injections into the spinal area. If left untreated fungal meningitis has the same prognosis as bacterial meningitis. According to the CDC due to the contaminated steroids, as of October 17, 247 people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis and 19 of the 247 have died.
As of November 5, 2012 According to the CDC
Status: Ongoing Investigation
For information about the outbreak go to www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis-