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- Not having recommended vaccinations
- Community living arrangements, such as a college dormitory or military base
- People in close and prolonged contact with people with meningitis
- Supressed immune system caused by certain health conditions or medications
- Penetrating head trauma
- Previous brain surgery, or cerebrospinal fluid shunts
- Birth defects, such as dermal sinus or myelomeningocele, a type of spina bifida
- A history of epidural steroid injections or other invasive spinal procedures
- Cochlear implants
- Alcohol use disorder
- Smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke
- High fever
- Very stiff, sore neck
- Red or purple skin rash
- Bluish skin color
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Mental confusion
- Unexplained high fever or any form of temperature instability, including a low body temperature
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Feeding poorly or refusing to eat
- Tightness or bulging of soft spots between skull bones
- Difficulty awakening
- Blood tests and cultures
- Urine tests
- Tests of mucous and pus from your skin
- Lumbar puncture
- Antibiotics and corticosteroids—often given together
- Pain relievers
- Medications to help reduce brain swelling
- Glycerol to reduce the risk of hearing loss and neurological complications
- If you have been exposed to meningitis, or are a carrier or healthcare worker, you may need to take prophylactic antibiotics to prevent infection.
- Make sure your vaccinations are up to date. Check on the vaccination status of your family members as well.
- Buy pasteurized milk and milk products.
- Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant so you can be monitored.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Meningitis Foundation of American http://www.musa.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada http://www.meningitis.ca
Bacterial meningitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 15, 2015. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Bacterial meningitis in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 27, 2015. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Bamberger D. Diagnosis, initial management, and prevention of meningitis. Am Fam Physician. 2010;82(12):1491-1498.
Lumbar puncture (LP). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 31, 2012. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Meningitis and encephalitis fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/encephalitis%5Fmeningitis/detail%5Fencephalitis%5Fmeningitis.htm. Updated April 30, 2015. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Meningococcal disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/index.html. Updated April 1, 2014. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Weisfelt M, de Gans J, van der Ende A, van de Beek D. Community-acquired bacterial meningitis in alcoholic patients. PLoS One. 2010;5(2):e9102.
10/2/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for revaccination of persons at prolonged increased risk for meningococcal disease. MMWR. 2009;58(37):1042-1043.
4/22/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Lee CC, Middaugh NA, Howie SR, Ezzati M. Association of secondhand smoke exposure with pediatric invasive bacterial disease and bacterial carriage: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Med. 2010;7(12).
1/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Zalmanovici T, Fraser A, et al. Antibiotics for preventing meningococcal infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;10:CD004785.
- Reviewer: David Horn, MD
- Review Date: 08/2015 -
- Update Date: 08/10/2015 -