Sunday, April 05, 2009

Meningitis?

The HSE says there's no need to fear a meningitis outbreak in Donegal Town. One person has it, but it's bacterial meningitis, which is not very contagious. You might get it if you live with someone who has it, but you won't get it from living next door to someone who has it. If your really concerned, talk to your doctor:
http://www.highlandradio.com/news.php?articleid=000003778
Today's Donegal People's Press says there is concern on the Drumroosk Estate in Donegal Town where three people living close to each other have been taken ill.

However Public Health Specialist Dr Anthony Breslin said while one person has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, there are no other cases, and no-one in the area should be concerned.

If your concerned, read this first:
How do people get bacterial meningitis?
The bacteria are spread by direct close contact with the discharges from the nose or throat of an infected person. Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are very contagious, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.

What are the signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis?
In persons over age 2, common symptoms are high fever, headache, and stiff neck. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, confusion, and sleepiness. In advanced disease, bruises develop under the skin and spread quickly.

Where is bacterial meningitis found?
Bacterial meningitis is found worldwide. The bacteria often live harmlessly in a person's mouth and throat. In rare instances, however, they can break through the body's immune defenses and travel to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. There they begin to multiply quickly. Soon, the thin membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord (meninges) becomes swollen and inflamed, leading to the classic symptoms of meningitis.

In newborns and infants, the typical symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be hard to detect. Other signs in babies might be inactivity, irritability, vomiting, and poor feeding.

As the disease progresses, patients of any age can have seizures.

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