What is meningococcus and how does it affect children

What is meningococcus and how does it affect children

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Meningococcus It is a gram negative bacterium widely spread throughout the world, and with several varieties. The potentially most aggressive in humans are the following: A, B, C, W and Y135. In Spain, the most prevalent serogroup at present is the meningococcus B.

It should be noted that one thing is an 'infection' (it means having a germ in the body) and another is an 'infectious disease' (developing symptoms from that germ). Having made this clarification, it should be emphasized that up to 10% of adults are asymptomatic carriers in the nasopharynx of meningococcus; that is, they carry it in their throat without causing any disease.

The route of infection of meningococcus it is by respiratory route, through the droplets of water that we expel when we speak, cough, sneeze, etc.

The most vulnerable group are children under 5 years of age. And within them, those under one year of age. Also, children with immunodeficiencies ('diseases of the immune system') and chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to severe meningococcal disease.

From a pathological point of view, they can lead to meningitis and sepsis. Many times both processes occur at the same time in the same patient. Both are very serious. Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes that surround the central nervous system.

From a clinical point of view, meningococcal meningitis presents with fever, decay, drowsiness, headache, vomiting, seizures, coma. This infection can be associated with sepsis, which is a very serious condition characterized by, in addition to the symptoms described, significant impairment of the general condition, spots on the skin (petechiae) and a drop in blood pressure.

Meningitis, through culture of the cerebrospinal fluid (removal of fluid from the back through a lumbar puncture). Sepsis, by the clinic and by the identification of the germ in a blood culture sample or from the scraping of a skin lesion.

The treatment of these processes is applied in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and consists of guaranteeing the respiratory and hemodynamic situation of the patient, and not only the administration of intravenous antibiotics.

The Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommends, in its proposed calendar for 2016, universal vaccination against meningococcus B. Since 2000, this calendar includes the meningococcal C vaccine.

You can read more articles similar to What is meningococcus and how does it affect children, in the category of Childhood Illnesses on site.

Video: Meningitis in Babies and Children - Signs of Meningitis in Toddlers (September 2022).