Failure To Diagnose Meningitis

Failure To Diagnose Meningitis

There are protective membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord, which is known as meninges. The medical condition when inflammation is caused in meninges is known meningitis. The cause for such an inflammation is due to infection from viruses or bacteria or other microorganisms. Meningitis can also develop from certain drugs or other diseases.

Generally the body’s immune system is capable of handling infection from bacteria. If the immune system fails, the bacteria then find their way to the meninges. Now that the bacteria have entered the central nervous system, where the blood-brain barrier is vulnerable, their presence is noted by the immune cells of the brain. They react by releasing large amounts of cytokines. Cytokines are hormone like mediators that make use of other immune cells and tissues to generate an immune response as part of the body defense mechanism. Large numbers of white blood cells enter causing inflammation of the meninges. At this stage the walls of the blood vessels also get inflamed. This can lead to reduction in blood supply to the brain and the brain cells may not get sufficient oxygen for them to continue to function.

Meningitis is a life threatening disease as the location of the inflammation is close to the brain and the spinal cord. It is to be considered as a medical emergency and the patient needs hospitalization with proper and immediate medical care. It is reported that even if timely therapy is started, 5 to 10 percent cases end in death. Sometimes, there is a failure to diagnose meningitis because the symptoms are similar to many other diseases. When this happens, it is usually fatal or patient ends up with long term complications.

Meningitis can lead to serious long term complications such as deafness, epilepsy, hydrocephalus and cognitive deficit if it is not diagnosed quickly and treatment not provided. Failure to diagnose meningitis may lead to permanent neurological damage.

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Failure To Diagnose Meningitis