What Is Meningitis & Septicaemia?

Meningitis and septicaemia are serious, life threatening illnesses that can kill in hours

Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Some bacteria that cause meningitis can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning).

The bacteria that causes meningitis lies at the back of the throat and the nose – you may be a carrier of the meningitis bacteria but never be affected by it.

Around 10% (rises to 25% in student age group) of the general population carries meningococcal bacteria in the back of their throats at any given time. This is usually healthy carriage and helps develop immunity. Occasionally the bacteria defeat the body’s defences and cause infection. 

5 KEY FACTS

  • Meningitis can affect anyone of any age. Teenagers and young people are the second most at-risk group

  • Meningitis and septicaemia can kill 

  • Some people often survive with life changing conditions
  • No vaccine provides 100% protection against meningitis but getting vaccinated may help save your life.

  • Early signs and symptoms can appear similar to ‘flu’ or stomach bug. 

BACTERIAL AND VIRAL MENINGITIS

The most common causes of meningitis are bacteria and viruses.

Viral meningitis is very rarely life-threatening, but can still make people very unwell. Most children and young people will make a good recovery, but recovery can be slow.

Bacterial meningitis can be fatal and needs rapid admission to hospital and urgent medical treatment. Around 10% of people who contract bacterial meningitis will die and 30% – 50% will be left with lifelong disabilities.

Some bacteria that cause meningitis can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning). The rash associated with meningitis is actually caused by blood poisoning.

You should never wait for a rash –  it may not appear at all.

Teens for Tomorrow works in association with Meningitis NOW as a signposting organisation to ensure young people know the facts around meningitis and septicaemia. Teens for Tomorrow is not a medical organisation and is not a charity.

©  Teens For Tomorrow 2019