What is Meningitis? Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the membranes protecting the brain or spinal cord. This is usually caused by a bacterial infection, and the symptoms include headache, stiff neck, fever and nausea. (A.D.A.M., Copyright © 2011) Meningitis may have been known as far back as ancient Greece, when Hippocrates (c. 460 BC to 370 BC), referred to as the "father of medicine," described conditions central to the disease. Persian physician Avicenna (c. AD 980 to AD 1037) revealed more about meningitis in his recorded observations. (Chiedozie, Copyright © 1999-2011 )
Scottish physician Robert Whytt (1714 to 1766) described a "dropsy of the brain" (now known as tuberculous meningitis) in a posthumous report. However, there was no link established between the condition and an agent that causes it. It was Austrian pathologist and bacteriologist Anton Weichselbaum (1845 to 1920), who found the agent of meningitis: bacteria. He specifically called it meningococcus in 1887. Meningitis has only recently manifested itself as an epidemic. The first recorded one occurred in Geneva, Switzerland in 1805. A major case of epidemic meningitis swept through what is today known as Nigeria and Ghana from 1905 to 1908. In recent years, major efforts have been made to curb the spread and deadliness of meningitis. In 1944 penicillin was demonstrated to be effective, and there have been several vaccines developed for combating this disease. (Chiedozie, Copyright © 1999-2011 )
The most common causes of meningitis are viral infections that usually get better without treatment. However, bacterial meningitis infections are extremely serious, and may result in death or brain damage, even if treated. Meningitis may also be caused by chemical irritation, drug allergies, fungi, tumors. Types include: Aseptic, Cryptococcal, Gram Negative, Tuberculosis, Syphilitic Aseptic, Staphylococcal, Pneumococcal, meningococcal, and meningitis that... [continues]
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