How does an infant get meningitis?

Your baby can get meningitis when bacteria, viruses, or a fungus infecting another part of their body travels in the bloodstream to their brain and spinal cord. Out of 1,000 live births, about 0.1 to 0.4 neonates (a baby less than 28 days old) get meningitis, estimates a 2017 review.

What causes meningitis in infants?

Many different types of bacteria can cause bacterial meningitis. In newborns, the most common causes are group B strep, E. coli, and less commonly, Listeria monocytogenes. In older kids, Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) are often the causes.

What is the first sign of meningitis in babies?

The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Meningitis & septicaemia are higher risks for young children. The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell.

What is the most common cause of meningitis in infants?

Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).

This bacterium is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in infants, young children and adults in the United States.

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How common is infant meningitis?

In the United States, there are roughly 300 to 400 cases of neonatal meningitis for every 100,000 live births. A rare type of meningitis, this often life-threatening condition affects newborns and is caused by various bacteria, including group B strep, E. coli, and listeria.

What happens if a baby has meningitis?

Bacterial meningitis is inflammation of the layers of tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meninges) caused by bacteria. Newborns with bacterial meningitis are usually irritable, vomit, or may have seizures.

Can babies recover from meningitis?

Meningitis is an uncommon but serious, life-threatening infection. However, a baby will almost always fully recover when it’s diagnosed and treated early. If treatment is delayed, a baby can still recover, but they may be left with one or more long-term effects, including: blindness.

When should you suspect meningitis?

a high temperature (fever) of 38C or above. being sick. a headache. a rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (but a rash will not always develop)

How do you rule out meningitis?

For a definitive diagnosis of meningitis, you’ll need a spinal tap to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In people with meningitis, the CSF often shows a low sugar (glucose) level along with an increased white blood cell count and increased protein.

How do I know if my child has meningitis?

The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion. Red ticks show symptoms more specific to meningitis and septicaemia and less common in milder illnesses.

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What does meningitis look like in babies?

The meningitis rash happens because septicaemia damages blood vessels, causing little leaks of blood. These leaks cause pinprick red spots to appear on the skin. As the leaks of blood get bigger, the spots can change into larger red or purple blotches, like bruises, and blood blisters .

Does Meningitis go away by itself?

Most people with mild viral meningitis usually get better on their own within 7 to 10 days. Initial symptoms of viral meningitis are similar to those for bacterial meningitis.

What is pediatric meningitis?

Pediatric bacterial meningitis is a life-threatening illness that results from bacterial infection of the meninges and leaves some survivors with significant sequelae.

How is infant meningitis treated?

Bacterial meningitis is treated with antibiotics that are typically given intravenously in the hospital through an IV. According to the AAP, most babies who receive prompt antibiotic treatment will recover completely.

How long can you have meningitis without knowing?

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis can appear quickly or over several days. Typically they develop within 3 to 7 days after exposure. Later symptoms of bacterial meningitis can be very serious (e.g., seizures, coma). For this reason, anyone who thinks they may have meningitis should see a doctor as soon as possible.

What do meningitis spots look like?

A petechial rash looks like pin-prick red or purple spots on the skin, and can resemble flea bites. A purpuric rash looks more like bruising, showing up as reddish-purple areas on the skin.

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