Meningitis is an infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and fluid that surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis can be caused by either viral or bacterial infection. It is important to know that meningitis can be life threatening in severe cases. This is because of the inflammation’s proximity to the brain and spinal cord; therefore the condition is classified as a medical emergency. The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache and neck stiffness along with fever confusion, consciousness, vomiting and an inability to tolerate light or high pitched voice and noise.
If a rash is present then it indicates some particular form of meningitis. Meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied with severe rash over the body. A lumbar puncture may be used to diagnose meningitis; this needs a needle which is inserted in the spinal cord for the sample of cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that protects the brain and the spinal cord. The CSF is then tested and investigated in the medical lab.
All cases of meningitis where absolutely no bacterial infection can be observed or detected is known as Aseptic meningitis. Bacterial infection that has been already treated partially may be the reason for this.
Endocarditis which is a condition of the heart valves causes aseptic meningitis. Meningitis may run into cerebral malaria. There are several viruses that can possibly cause meningitis, those viruses include intero-viruses and herpes simplex virus type 2. In meningitis brain tissues may swell with increasing pressure inside the skull causing herniation.
This may be noticed by decreasing level of consciousness, loss of the papillary light reflex and abnormal posturing. Inflammation of the brain obstructs the normal flow CSF around the brain. Seizures are common in the early stages of meningitis and seizures are the result of extreme pressure from areas of inflammation in the brain tissue.