A to Z: Meningitis, Bacterialenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-khAZDictionary-enHD-AR1.jpgLearn about this rare but serious condition in which bacteria invade the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.Meningitis, bacterial meningitis, meninges, brain, spinal cord, bacteria, cerebrospinal fluid, ear infection, otitis media, nasal sinus infection, sinusitis, fever, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, bacterial infection, seizures, coma01/07/201504/08/201909/02/2019a870594e-68c0-4be1-8146-dfabe51d660bhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/az-meningitis-bacterial.html/<p><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dictionary/"><img class="right" title="Parents image" src="https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/buttons/P-atoZDictionary-enBT.jpg" alt="A to Z Dictionary 500 Go" name="5093-P_ATOZDICTIONARY2_ENBT.JPG" /></a></p> <p>Bacterial <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/meningitis.html/">meningitis</a> (bak-TEE-ree-ul meh-nin-JY-tus) is an inflammation of the meninges that's caused by bacteria.</p> <h3>More to Know</h3> <p>Meningitis happens when the meninges, the membranes that cover the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/brain-nervous-system.html/">brain</a> and spinal cord, become infected, usually by <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/germs.html/">bacteria or viruses</a>. Bacterial meningitis is rare, but is usually serious and can be life-threatening if not treated right away.</p> <p>Anyone can get bacterial meningitis, but it's more common among groups of people who are living in close contact, like college students. Newborn babies exposed to their mothers' illnesses during delivery also can sometimes develop meningitis.</p> <p>Many different types of bacteria can cause bacterial meningitis. Bacteria that infect the skin, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/urinary.html/">urinary tract</a>, or gastrointestinal and respiratory systems can spread via the bloodstream to the meninges through cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the fluid that circulates in and around the spinal cord. In some cases of bacterial meningitis, the bacteria spread to the meninges from a severe head trauma or a severe local infection, such as a serious ear infection (<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/otitis-media.html/">otitis media</a>) or nasal sinus infection (<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sinusitis.html/">sinusitis</a>).</p> <p>A person with bacterial meningitis might have fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, extreme tiredness, irritability, nausea, and vomiting.</p> <p>Untreated bacterial meningitis can lead to seizures, coma, and death. Treatment, which should be started as soon as possible, includes using antibiotics to fight the infection.</p> <p><span>Routine&nbsp;</span><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/immunization-chart.html/">immunization</a><span>&nbsp;can go a long way toward preventing meningitis. The vaccines against </span><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hib.html/">Hib</a><span>, </span><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/meningitis-vaccine.html/">meningococcus</a><span>, and </span><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pneumococcal-vaccine.html/">pneumococcus</a><span> can protect against bacterial meningitis caused by these germs.</span></p> <h3>Keep in Mind</h3> <p>Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency.<span> </span>Make sure you know the signs of meningitis, and if you suspect that anyone in your family&nbsp;has the illness, get medical care right away.</p> <p><em>All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.</em></p>
A to Z: Meningitis, ViralSometimes viruses can spread to the meninges, the membrane around the brain and spinal cord, and cause more severe illness. Learn about it here.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/az-meningitis-viral.html/7b1e5687-60e6-4bc0-b396-9ce39d0fca46
Brain and Nervous SystemThe brain controls everything we do, and is often likened to the central computer within a vast, complicated communication network, working at lightning speed.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/brain-nervous-system.html/1e2a5004-5865-4069-97fd-5488c31075b9
Hib Disease (Haemophilus Influenzae Type b)Hib disease can cause serious illnesses like meningitis and pneumonia. To protect kids from this bacterial infection, they should receive the Hib vaccine as infants.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hib.html/040f5330-9f46-4892-b1c7-f5afda521a90
ImmunizationsMissing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little "ouch" moment protects you from some major health problems.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/immunizations.html/43c9c971-c202-4a84-af31-70a2a42c3a36
MeningitisYou may be wondering what the deal is with meningitis because you've heard frightening stuff about meningitis outbreaks in the news.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/meningitis.html/810ea9e2-c86a-4d28-a819-e48f10e7de35
Your Child's ImmunizationsImmunizations protect kids from many dangerous diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vaccine.html/b06a1e85-c797-4b31-bd74-814841e4cb8b
Your Child's Immunizations: Hib VaccineFind out when and why your child needs to get this vaccine.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hib-vaccine.html/ebeb6938-c21c-4494-8576-7e26f8f7ca67
Your Child's Immunizations: Meningococcal VaccinesFind out when and why your child needs to get this vaccine.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/meningitis-vaccine.html/443a3a5b-8c48-4580-a953-985ee237bffd
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-infectiousDiseasekh:genre-dictionarykh:primaryClinicalDesignation-emergencyMedicineMhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dictionary/m/2aba21ee-5cd5-4788-a60d-af36b997b6c6https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/buttons/P-atoZDictionary-enBT.jpg