Meningitis is simply the inflammation of the membranes that help to protect the brain and the spinal cord. It can become inflamed because of an injury or a virus, but the most dangerous form is from a bacterial infection. Many people call all forms of meningitis, but the bacterial version is very different from the other two. The infection can enter into the bloodstream and if left untreated, may even be fatal. Some versions can even be triggered by a fungal infection.
Statistics About Bacterial Meningitis
1. About 20% of the cases of bacterial menigitis occur between the ages of 14-24.
2. Up to 4,000 people catch this disease in the United States every year.
3. The percentage of people who will be killed by bacterial meningitis when they contract it: up to 15%.
4. Among those who survive, approximately 1 in 5 survivors live with permanent disabilities.
5. 30% of teens and young adults in the high risk group have not received their first dose of the bacterial meningitis vaccine.
6. Antibiotic treatment improves the rate of survivability to more than 85%.
7. More than 400 million people living in the 21 countries of the “African meningitis belt” are affected by this disease annually.
8. In this area, from Senegal to Ethiopia, over 800,000 cases were reported in the last 15 years.
9. Left untreated, up to 50% of those who catch bacterial meningitis may die.
10. It takes less than 24 hours for symptoms to appear and the disease to be widespread.
11. Despite the vaccine has helped to drop incidents of the disease by up to 55%, the death rates for bacterial meningitis remain the same when it strikes.
12. Bacterial meningitis is a contagious disease.
13. Among adults, those aged 65 or older were most likely to die from the illness.
14. Vaccinations are effective against 4 of the 5 most common bacterial types that cause 70% of the disease in the U.S.
15. Vaccinations take 7-10 days to become effective, with protection lasting 3-5 years.
16. For every hour you delay treatment of bacterial meningitis, you face a 3% greater risk of dying.
17. Meningitis kills or disables around 1.2 million people worldwide each year.
18. Bacterial meningitis, which is the most severe and common form of meningitis, causes around 120,000 deaths globally every year.
19. Cases of bacterial meningitis are more frequent in developing countries due to poverty, overcrowding and lack of access to vaccines.
20. Anyone in the world can get meningitis at any time.
21. Regular exercise and eating healthy to maintain a stable immune system are the best proactive methods to combat this disease.
22. Good hand washing habits and covering your mouth for sneezing and coughing can help to prevent the spread of bacterial meningitis.
Understanding Bacterial Meningitis
Although it is rather rare, it can strike quickly. Even when caught in time, side effects that include hearing loss, kidney damage, and even brain damage may result. Parts of the body may become septic, especially the limbs, and require an amputation. Young adults are the most at-risk for the development of this disease, and because death or disability can happen in just a few hours, it is important to know the symptoms and statistics of this disease so treatment can be administered immediately.
Many of the early symptoms of bacterial meningitis are similar to the early symptoms of influenza. Look for skin that is pale or mottled. A purple-colored rash can also be seen on the skin and children especially will feel so cold that they will shiver if the infection has reached the bloodstream. More commonly, a severe headache and a stiff neck are the two primary symptoms that are felt. Sometimes light sensitivity and unexplained seizures may also happen.
The number of bacterial meningitis cases has gone up and down over time as colonies of bacteria have spread from location to location. In modern times, however, infection rates are at all-time lows. The vaccine for bacterial meningitis likely is the cause of this disease becoming less of a threat. This is why getting vaccinated and taking appropriate safety precautions, especially for children and teens, can protect them in case they are exposed.
Because bacterial meningitis can be so difficult to recognize in its early stages, it is important to seek help immediately. Headaches and a stiff neck are common, but so are sleepiness, leg pain, muscle aches, and even vomiting. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, seek help right away. It is better to be safe than sorry with this disease. Because death can occur in as little as 8 hours, there are very few other diseases that can have you go from well to death in as short a period of time. Caution is always the best course of action here.
Bacterial meningitis is often called the “kissing disease” because of how it spreads. Anyone really can get meningitis and all it takes is kissing someone who has also been infected. What makes this disease so difficult to treat is the fact that multiple types of bacteria can cause the inflammation of the protective tissues. Although meningococcus is the most common form of bacterial meningitis, strep throat that is Group B, e.coli, and even tuberculosis can also cause it.
Most people who receive an antibiotic treatment immediately can typically survive their encounter with this disease, but that doesn’t mean that their life will be the same. 1 out 5 people have lifelong complications to this fast-acting disease that can sometimes impact their overall quality of life. That’s why it is so important to know the signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis and to be aware of these statistics and facts.
Moving fast when you suspect bacterial meningitis could save a life. With this information, that life might even be your own.