Meningococcal Disease - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment .MF .

August 12, 2017 17:52 | Infectious Diseases

«I've seen cases where people feel good at breakfast and for dinner was already dead!» - Dr Clayton Golledge, microbiologist, infectious diseases, the United States.This is the case of the infection.

Meningococcal disease - an acute infectious disease caused by a bacterium - Neisseria meningitidis.The severity of meningococcal disease varies from nasopharyngitis to fulminant sepsis, leading to death within a few hours.Few infections are so catastrophic for.

In our country, the incidence is on average 5 100 thous. Per year, which is quite high compared with developed countries.The highest incidence of meningococcal disease in the world accounts for Central Africa, China, South America (the so-called "meningitis belt"), where there are regular large epidemic of the disease.Outbreaks occur mainly in unsanitary conditions and overcrowding of the population, so the disease is called "military" infection.

About 10% of cases of meningococcal infection will die, and 20% occur disabling complications.Th

e basis for an effective treatment is early diagnosis of the disease, which allows you to start therapeutic measures as quickly as possible, and often life-saving and health.

forms of meningococcal infection

Meningococcal disease begins in the nasopharynx, where did pathogens there are several ways.The easiest form of the disease - is meningococcal nasopharyngitis , which manifests itself as the common cold, and often not correctly diagnosed.This disease can result, and infection can leave the body at all or go in asymptomatic carriage.However, in other cases, less favorable bacteria enter the bloodstream and cause meningococcemia (or meningococcal septicemia).At the same time the bacteria multiply in the blood and cause blood clotting disorders that lead to bleeding into the skin and internal organs, and often ends in death.Meningococcal sepsis is complicated by meningitis.Meningitis is called inflammation of the meninges covering the brain and spinal cord.Meningitis is not only meningococcal - a cause of inflammation may be other bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus), and even viruses and fungi.Meningococcus also has an increased tendency to bruise it meninges.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease

manifestations of meningococcal infections are insidious and deceptive.The first symptoms - non-specific, the correct diagnosis can be very difficult when the initial signs of the disease.However, when a detailed picture of the disease, the patient is often no longer possible to save.There are three forms of meningococcal disease, each of which can occur separately and independently, or have a consistent development from nasopharyngitis to sepsis and meningitis.

meningococcal nasopharyngitis:

menigokokkovogo nasopharyngitis Symptoms are similar to manifestations of the common cold.This rise in temperature, to an average of 38 ° C, as well as all the familiar and do not cause particular concern cold symptoms: runny nose, sore throat, headache.In contrast to the banal SARS when there is excessive sweating and reddening of the skin, in meningococcal nasopharyngitis, skin pale and dry.

very important among the signs of the common cold to identify "unusual" symptoms, do not miss deterioration which develops, perhaps too fast - faster than you expect.

Symptoms common to meningitis and meningococcemia:

  • Fever (which can not respond to antipyretics);
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • weakness;
  • Confusion and disorientation in time, space;
  • Dizziness;
  • Anxiety and excitement.

symptoms typical of meningitis:

  • Severe headache that does not pass after taking painkillers;
  • Back pain;
  • pain and difficulty of movement in the neck;
  • intolerance of bright light;
  • cramps.

symptoms characteristic of meningococcemia:

  • High fever to 39-40ºS, accompanied by cooling of the hands and feet;
  • Chills;
  • pain in muscles and joints;
  • pain in the abdomen or chest;
  • pale skin, sometimes tinged with gray;
  • Frequent breathing;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Rash: starts with pink spots the size of 2-10mm, then turns into irregular purple spots (star-shaped) shape, not protruding above the surface of the skin, do not disappear when pressed.Begin with the most buttocks, torso and legs.

should be inspected regularly for sick rash: the appearance of any blemishes on the skin should be a reason to call emergency medical services.But we should not wait for a rash - a rash may be a symptom of late, and may not appear at all.When several of these features (not necessarily all) should seek medical advice immediately.

How do you get meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease occurs in all countries, in all climatic zones.The source of pathogens is only a man.Way of transmission of the pathogen could not be more simple - airborne, ieinfection occurs when coughing, sneezing, talking, kissing.

danger is the fact that bacteria can live in the nasopharynx of perfectly healthy people who are chronic asymptomatic carriers.As a result, carrier immunity appears to corresponding strain of the pathogen, which can not cause disease in the carrier, however, may be dangerous to others.Carriers can also get sick when infected with other strains of bacteria.Outside of the epidemic carrier is about 10%, but in closed collectives (schools, military units) can reach up to 60-80%.

incidence of meningococcal infection

  • Children younger than 5 years.The immune system of children in this age inconclusive formed;In addition, children tend to touch the mouth with unwashed hands and various objects, they are still poor compliance with the general rules of hygiene - such as covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, washing hands.In addition, the spread of infection contribute to kindergartens - nurseries, kindergartens, where children are closely communicate with each other, sharing toys, food.
  • Teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 25 - at this age, people no longer spend time in nightclubs, which are distinguished by a combination of multiple risk factors - is overcrowding of people smoking, common drinks, kisses, the need constantly to battle noise.
  • smoking - reduces both general immunity and local reactivity of the nasal mucosa, nasopharynx.

When meningococcal disease often suffer

Above all incidence of the winter and early spring.This is because a person's immune system is weakened at this time a large number of viruses, which are also activated at this time of the year -. SARS, influenza, etc.

In addition, an important trigger factor for the development of meningococcal infection are hypothermia.

Prevention of meningococcal disease

Infected with meningococcal disease can not only by the sick person, but also from healthy chronic carriers of meningococcus.To prevent infection it is necessary to follow the simple rules of hygiene.We need to teach their child;and kindergarten teachers should be closely monitored for compliance.

Necessary rules:

  • can not share drinks, food, ice cream, candies, chewing gums;
  • Do not use someone else's lipstick, toothbrushes;smoking one cigarette;
  • can not be kept in the mouth tip pen or pencil;
  • can not lick baby pacifier before they give the baby.

Drug prevention and vaccination meningococcal infection

Drug prevention:

antibiotic prophylaxis is necessary for everyone who is in contact with the ill person during the 7 days before onset of symptoms.


There are several types of meningococcus: serogroup A, C, W 135, Y.The most common serogroups A and C. In Russia used against meningococcal vaccine type A and C. The vaccine is a bacteria particles, so ill after vaccination impossible.Typically, vaccination is well tolerated at the injection site may occur slight redness.Vaccination is carried out only once, the efficiency is about 90%, immunity is generated on average within 5 days and persists for 3-5 years.

Who should be vaccinated:

  • If in closed groups - schools, kindergartens, military units, etc.registered 2 or more cases of meningococcal infection, compulsory vaccination is required for all team members.
  • family members of the sick person and the contact person to be vaccinated.
  • When leaving in areas with high incidence - in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates.

Complications of meningococcal disease Meningococcal disease

, especially flowing from the development of meningitis, often leaves behind irreversible consequences.

  • Chronic headaches;
  • Memory loss;
  • trouble concentrating;
  • Inadequate behavior;
  • mood disorders;
  • problems with vision;
  • Deafness;
  • Reducing mental abilities;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Paralysis - the loss of movement of any body parts.

Complications of meningococcemia

  • on the former site of hemorrhages in the skin formed scars, some defects require operations for skin grafts.
  • In connection with impaired clotting in blood vessels of many organs, including limbs, blood clots are formed that can lead to gangrene and amputation followed by fingers or toes, and sometimes the entire limb.
  • Hepatic or renal insufficiency.
  • chronic fatigue syndrome.

Diagnostics meningokkokovoy infection

In connection with nonspecific symptoms of meningococcal infection even experienced physicians may misdiagnose.Therefore, if a viewing physician decided that the high fever caused by intoxication and other infection should nevertheless carefully monitor the patient's condition and body inspected for lesions.

If your doctor has decided that this is not the meningococcal infection, and the patient becomes worse, do not hesitate to call another doctor or take the patient immediately to the hospital.

For diagnosis of meningococcal disease need to identify the causative agent of biological fluids - blood, cerebrospinal fluid, joint fluid - or from a skin biopsy.

detection of meningococcus in the nasopharynx no evidence of disease, but only on the carriage of.

Hospitalization with meningococcal disease

flow menengokokkovoy unpredictable infection.It has always been regarded as life-threatening.In the first few days after admission the patient irrespective carefully control all vital functions blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, diuresis.

In hospital the patient is placed in a special closed chamber to which access is strictly prohibited relatives to prevent the spread of infection.