Meningitis is a disease caused by inflammation of the meninges. “Meninges” is the collective name of the three membranes that envelop the central nervous system (including the brain and the spinal cord). The three membranes are the dura mater, the arachnoid mater, and the pia mater. The meninges, along with the cerebrospinal fluid, help protect the central nervous system. Microorganisms like virus and bacteria cause infection to the meninges and the disease is called Meningitis.
One of the bacteria responsible for causing the disease is meningitis is Neisseria Meningitidis. It is also known as Meningococcus. This bacterium usually lives harmlessly in your throat. But, if it can manage to get into the blood stream or the spinal fluid, it can get you down with the life-threatening disease of Meningitis. The most common type of these bacteria is usually referred to as type B and the disease it causes is known as Group B Meningitis, meningitis B or simply Men B.
Most Vulnerable Group
The disease of Men B most commonly affects toddlers under the age of 1. The symptoms include fever, lack of appetite or poor feeding, vomiting and drowsiness. It has also been noticed that the disease even leads to poisoning of the blood or septicemia. At this stage, purple rashes appear on the baby’s skin all on a sudden.
The disease is not always recognizable. In many cases, it is often seen that Men B gets the better of a patient without displaying any symptom. In the early stages, it usually reveals the symptoms that are similar to that of flu. However, it can suddenly make one seriously ill without any warning.
Therefore, before resorting to Group B meningitis treatment, experienced physicians look for the early symptoms like nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, fever with high temperature, severe headache. Even most patients suffering from it develop cold hands and feet.
Warning from Toddlers
Babies can hardly express themselves in words to tell you about their pain and discomfort. Usually, the warnings that babies give out include:
- A high-pitched, moaning and cry
- Bulging fontanels
- Sleepy and lethargic
- Refuse to be fed
- Difficulty in breathing
- Rapid and unusual breathing
- Reddish or purplish spots
Similarly, older children complain about stiff neck, severe aches in the back and the body joints, sleeplessness, shivering, cold hands and feet, rapid breathing and others.
Treatment and Vaccination
Usually, normal medications like antibiotics, Paracetamol and corticosteroids are administered to the patients. Since September 2015, Group B Meningitis vaccine or Bexsero has been introduced in the UK and it can be administered to babies who are at least two months old. It is relevant mentioning here that it is the first vaccine for Meningitis B or meningococcal serogroup B.
The routine NHS childhood immunization program involves administering three injections given to toddlers aged 2 months, 4 months and 12 months. This measure is expected to protect children from Men B till the age of four years.