Meningitis (cerebrospinal meningitis) is a rare but very serious illness. The cause is either virus or bacteria. It is the bacterial inflammation that causes deaths. Meningitis appears as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and stiffness in neck and back. You must call the doctor immediately, if you suspect meningitis.
Meningitis is a relatively rare but at the same time very serious illness – people die from the illness every year.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the soft membranes covering the brain. Either virus or bacteria can cause the inflammation. In half the cases, virus causes the inflammation.
The classis symptoms of meningitis is fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and stiffness in neck and back. Stiffness in the neck appears by you being unable to look down on your navel. Stiffness in the back appears by you being unable to move the upper part of the body into a perpendicular position in relation to your stretched legs.
If the cause of meningitis is bacteria, you become very ill. The classical symptoms always appear and often the temperature is quite high. The ill person is pale-grey and not entirely clear in the head – does not answer questions sensibly. Often, the person is supersensitive to light and sound – turns the head away from the light and cannot stand hearing ordinary noise. In addition to this, small red, dotted rashes appear on the skin that does not go away when you press the bottom of a glass against them. Practically, you examine the rash by pressing the bottom of a glass against the skin while observing the rash through the glass. In a few cases, the ill person quickly becomes unconscious.
In rare cases, sinusitis or inflammation of the middle ear can spread to the soft membranes surrounding the brain and thereby causing meningitis.
In the case of meningitis cause by virus, you do not become quite as ill. However, the classical signs like fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and stiffness in neck and back always appear. The temperature is 38-39°C.
Deaths in connection with meningitis caused by virus hardly ever occur. On the other hand, around 5 to 15% of people with bacterial meningitis die. It is crucial to contact the doctor fast so that the treatment can begin. The faster the treatment is started, the smaller risk of death.