Pediatric Bacterial Meningitis

by Sam Malone

Bacterial meningitis is a medical condition that is known to be fatal and life threatening. Bacterial meningitis results from a bacterial infection of the meninges. Children suffering from pediatric bacterial meningitis will experience a swelling or an inflammation of the membranes that surround the spinal cord or the brain. Pediatric bacterial meningitis can swiftly become fatal as it progresses by causing permanent damage to the brain or even various neurologic problems in the child.

Bacterial meningitis in children should be treated immediately once diagnosed so as to prevent as well as reduce the possibility of any long term effects that the condition could cause. Along with bacterial meningitis in children, pediatric viral meningitis is also known to occur on account of a viral infection. In some very rare cases, bacterial meningitis in children may also be on account of a preexisting medical condition such as cancer, immune system medical issues or even on account of an adverse reaction to a particular drug or because of parasites.

The symptoms of pediatric bacterial meningitis are difficult to diagnose in children however they typically include a decrease in the mental sharpness of the child, lethargy and fever. Research has shown that the risk of pediatric meningitis is highest amongst children from birth till they are almost 8 months of age. Infants with underlying problems with their immune system or those who have an increased exposure to infections are known to be more prone to developing bacterial meningitis.

Pediatric viral meningitis is typically not as serious a medical condition as pediatric bacterial meningitis and in fact many a times viral meningitis goes undetected as the symptoms are very similar to those of the flu.

Management of meningitis in children especially bacterial meningitis should be prompt and aggressive as this medical condition can quickly turn fatal. The child should ideally be rushed to a hospital where a series of tests will be conducted to check on the child’s blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels in the blood and so on.

Once meningitis is confirmed, as part of the treatment, a lumbar puncture or a spinal tap is conducted. This is a medical procedure wherein the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and the brain is extracted and analyzed. The infection pertaining to Pediatric bacterial meningitis is known to occur in this cerebrospinal fluid. If the child is allowed to go back home once diagnosed with viral meningitis, they should be closely monitored for any signs of this medical condition worsening.



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