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Infectious meningitis


Dear Network Doctor

I'm lying with a little flu, but that's not my question. We have found contagious meningitis at my trading school and the teachers say that the first signs of infection are cold. What is the chance that I may be infected? I go to the maths team with her 5 hours a week, but I'm not sitting next to her.

Sincerely, one asks


Dear Questions

In general, there are two main groups of meningitis, one of which is caused by bacteria and the other of viruses. It is of course important for treatment as viral meningitis usually can not be treated, but it is very important to get treatment as soon as possible if the meningitis is due to bacteria. In autumn, infections of meningitis are not rarely seen due to viruses that also affect the intestinal tract and cause diarrhea. This type of viral disease is contagious through bowel movements if the (often smaller children) who have the disease do not have a very good hand hygiene.

For the bacterial-induced meningitis, it is the so-called meningococcal disease, which is considered to be infectious. Often, people who get meningoloc menigitis may for some time have had meningococcal bacteria growing as part of the pharyngeal flora of bacteria, and it is often not easy to figure out if you have recently been infected with another with the same disease.

Occasionally, how many young people are together, one sees something that is undoubtedly a minor "epidemic" or infection chain, where more people become ill with the same type of meningococcal disease within a shorter period of time. Unfortunately, the most common type of meningococcal disease is caused by a type (type B) that you can not effectively vaccinate against. Ca. one third of meningococcal disease is due to Meningokok type C, where there is a good vaccine which has now become part of the childhood vaccination program in England but not in Denmark, where there are also only about 20-30 cases of this type C.

If a recent case of Meningococcal disease is due to Type C, doctors often choose, if the case occurs at a school, the boxes, etc. to vaccinate possible contacts. For all types of Meinigokox disease, prophylactic antibiotics are recommended with ciprofloxazine, but only for closest contacts (living in the same household or for example, lovers of the sick person). When you lie with flu symptoms, feel bad and have suspected you. may recently be exposed to meningococcal disease, the statistical probability is very small for self-meningococcal disease. However, should you get very high fever, get severe headache, get stiff in your neck and back and possibly get very small (milimeter large) blood pruritus in the skin you should be seen as soon as possible by a doctor who will decide what then it will happen.

Best wishes

S?ren Thybo

Specialist in infectious medicine

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