pathology meningitis, it reads on the board of the national Institute of Health, is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) that surround the brain and spinal cord. The disease is generally of infectious origin, and can be viral, bacterial or caused by fungus. The viral form, also called aseptic meningitis, is the most common: usually not serious and resolves within 7-10 days. Bacterial form is rare in The bacterial form, that returned to strike in the past months, more rare but extremely serious , and can have fatal consequences. The Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) is lodged in the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat), often of healthy carriers and asymptomatic (2-30% of the population). It was first identified in 1887, although the disease was already described in 1805 during an outbreak in Geneva. It is transmitted from person to person via respiratory secretions. The meningococcus is a bacterium that is affected by temperature changes and drying. Therefore, outside the organism survives only for a few minutes. The infection The main cause of contagion is represented by healthy carriers of the bacterium : only in 0.5% of cases, the disease is transmitted by people suffering from the disease. There are 13 different serogroups of meningococcus, but only six cause meningitis and other serious diseases: the more frequently A, B, C, Y and W135, and much more rarely in Africa, X. In Italy and in Europe, serogroups B and C are the most frequent. The symptoms are not different from those of other meningitis bacterial, but in 10-20% of cases the disease is rapid and acute, with a fulminant course that may lead to death in a few hours even in the presence of an adequate therapy. The sick of meningitis or other serious forms are considered to be contagious for about 24 hours after start of antibiotic therapy specific. The infectivity is still low, and the secondary cases are rare. The outbreaks of The use , however, can give rise to outbreaks . To limit the risk of secondary cases, it is important that close contacts of the ill to perform a prophylactic antibiotics . In the evaluation of close contact (which must be made on a case-by-case) are taken into account: the partners considering the environment of study (the same class) or work (the same room); he who has slept or eaten, often in the same house of the sick; the people that in the seven days prior to the onset had contact with its saliva (through kissing, dishes, toothbrushes, toys); the health that have been directly exposed to respiratory secretions of the patient (for example, during the maneuvers of intubation or mouth-to-mouth).
The symptoms for The surveillance of the contacts is important to identify those who were to present fever , in order to diagnose and treat quickly any more cases. This monitoring is scheduled for 10 days after the onset of symptoms of the patient. The incubation period is generally 3-4 days (from 2 up to 10 days). In addition, we must consider that the meningococcus can cause a septicaemia meningococcal (a clinical picture, sometimes very severe, for the presence of the meningococcus in the blood, with high fever, hypotension, petechiae, failure on the part of one or more organs up to a fatal outcome) that can stand alone or coexist with the clinical manifestations of meningitis. The symptoms of meningitis are independent of the germ that causes the disease. The most typical symptoms include < / strong> :stiffening of the rear part of the neck (nuchal rigidity); high fever; headache; vomiting or nausea; alteration of level of consciousness; seizures. The identification of the causative organism is carried out on a sample of cerebrospinal fluid or blood. In newborns, it "hides" In infants, some of these symptoms are not evident. You can, however, manifest fever, seizure (convulsions), a continuous crying, irritability, drowsiness and poor appetite. On the front of the fight to the meningococcus, are currently available vaccines polysaccharide against serogroups A, C, Y and W-135, however, provide a short-term protection only to those of age greater than 2 years of age, the conjugate vaccine against serogroup C (currently used in the calendars vaccination in Italy) and the conjugate vaccine against serogroups A, C, Y and W-135. And' some years ago the introduction (2014) and in the market in offering the vaccine in some regions a vaccine to prevent invasive forms meningococcal serogroup B.
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