Pneumococcal Meningitis



Pneumococcal Meningitis is an inflammation or infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (also called pneumococcus).

Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors of Pneumococcal Meningitis

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of meningitis in adults, and the second most common cause of meningitis in children older than 6.

The onset of symptoms is usually rapid. Risk factors include recurrent meningitis, meningitis associated with leakage of spinal fluid, diabetes, injury or trauma to the head, alcohol use, recent pneumonia, recent upper respiratory infection, infection of a heart valve, or recent ear infection. About 15,000 cases occur in the US each year.


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Symptoms of Pneumococcal-Meningitis

Signs and tests of Pneumococcal Meningitis . . . A physical exam may show a rapid heart rate, high temperature, stiff neck, and a 'foggy' or confused mental status.

The Following Meningitis Tests can be Performed:

Treatment for Pneumococcal Meningitis

Antibiotic therapy should be started as soon as possible. Ceftriaxone is one of the most commonly used antibiotics. If antibiotic resistance is suspected, vancomycin or rifampin are used. Sometimes systemic corticosteroids may be used, especially in children.

Expectations and Prognosis of Pneumococcal Meningitis

With early treatment, the outcome is better. However, 20% of people who contract this disease will die of it and 50% will have serious long-term complications.

Complications of Pneumococcal Meningitis

About 1/2 of all pneumococcal and acute bacterial meningitis patients end-up with long-term complications, like these:

Calling your Health Care Provider

Call the local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the emergency room if a young child has persistent unexplained fever, irritability, feeding difficulties, or high-pitched cry and you suspect meningitis.

Call the local emergency number if you develop any of the serious symptoms listed above. Meningitis can quickly become a life-threatening illness.

Prevention of Pneumococcal Meningitis

Early treatment of pneumonia and ear infections caused by pneumococcus may decrease the risk of meningitis. There are also two effective vaccines on the market to prevent pneumococcus infection.

The current recommendations are for people at high risk for pneumonia, children, and everyone over the age of 55 to be vaccinated.

Recommended Resources of Interest

Cryptococcal Meningitis Cryptococcal Meningitis

Pneumococcal spinal meningitis Pneumococcal Meningitis

aseptic and viral meningitis Viral & Aseptic Meningitis

Non-Polio Polio-Like Virus Infections Polio-Like Virus Infection

hand foot and mouth disease Hand-Foot-Mouth-Disease

Meningitis in Children of All Ages Meningitis in Children

Always Wash Your Hands Wash Your Hands

Polio facts and information What is Polio?

Pulmonary Hypertension aka PAH Pulmonary Hypertension

Sepsis Sepsis



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