Meningitis: treatments

Before setting up the treatment, the lumbar puncture must be performed urgently. Lumbar puncture is a simple, normally painless gesture. It allows to collect cerebrospinal fluid.

A small local anesthesia can be done before the introduction of the trocar. This examination consists of collecting a little cerebrospinal fluid that will be analyzed in the laboratory (and find the infectious agent involved).

If the cerebrospinal fluid is cloudy or purulent, it indicates a bacterial infection. In this case, an antibiotic treatment must be instituted urgently and adapted to the bacteria as soon as the laboratory results are known. Treatment with cortisone may be associated.

If the fluid is clear and the clinical signs are not alarming, the meningitis is probably of viral origin. In this case, the treatment is only symptomatic, and the antibiotics have no interest.

In general, in front of a suspicion of meningitis, the laboratories of the hospital are swift and the results of the examinations are quickly known.

Bacterial meningitis with meningococcus is a highly contagious, notifiable disease.

When meningococcal meningitis is diagnosed, precautions should be taken with the patient's entourage.

Preventive therapy should be instituted in persons who have been in direct contact with the patient for 10 days prior to the declaration of the disease. Short-term antibiotic treatment is sufficient.

Sometimes a vaccination on a larger scale of the entourage (school) is recommended.

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