Person-to-Person Bacterial and Viral Diseases - Menigitis and Meningococcemia

6 important questions on Person-to-Person Bacterial and Viral Diseases - Menigitis and Meningococcemia

Define meningitis and explain why Neisseria meningitidis is a significant causative agent. Describe the characteristic symptoms of meningococcal meningitis.

Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges. Neisseria meningitidis causes infectious meningitis. Symptoms include a sudden headache, vomiting, and a stiff neck.

Compare meningococcal meningitis and fulminant meningococcemia. What are the potential complications of meningococcal disease, and why is its onset rapid and life-threatening?

Meningococcal meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, while fulminant meningococcemia involves intravascular coagulation, tissue destruction, shock, and death. Complications include gangrene. Rapid onset is due to the bacterium quickly gaining access to the bloodstream

Explain the transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of meningococcal meningitis. Why is a rapid clinical diagnosis crucial, and what is the role of penicillin in treatment?

Meningococcal meningitis is transmitted via the airborne route. Diagnosis involves cultures from nasopharyngeal swabs, blood, or cerebrospinal fluid. Rapid clinical diagnosis is crucial due to the swift progression. Penicillin is typically used for treatment, often requiring intravenous administration.
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Discuss the populations at higher risk for meningococcal disease. How can subclinical infections with Neisseria meningitidis provide protection, and what preventive measures, including vaccines, are available?

Higher-risk populations include infants, school-age children, and young adults. Subclinical infections with N. meningitidis can lead to naturally acquired antibodies, offering protection. Vaccines, including polysaccharide-based ones, are available for certain susceptible populations.

Describe the diagnostic methods for meningococcal meningitis. How is N. meningitidis cultured and confirmed? Why is antibiotic treatment initiated before confirming the bacterial infection?

Diagnosis involves culturing N. meningitidis from samples using Thayer–Martin medium. Confirmation includes testing for gram-negative diplococci. Antibiotic treatment is often started before confirmation due to the rapid onset of life-threatening symptoms in infectious meningitis.

Explain the preventive strategies for meningococcal disease. What role do vaccines and antibiotics play in controlling outbreaks? Who are the susceptible populations targeted for vaccination?

  1. Preventive strategies include vaccines with purified polysaccharides and antibiotics like rifampin. Vaccination targets susceptible populations such as military recruits and students in dormitories, especially during outbreaks.

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