These nine facts about meningococcal infection you need to know

A Meninigokokkenerkrankung is rare, but in 2/3 of the cases, skin, brain inflammation (Meningitis), and in 1/3 of all cases of blood poisoning (Sepsis). And that is exactly what makes them so dangerous. Even more often, we reported on serious infections with meningococci, which often leads very quickly to death. According to the Robert Koch-Institute hide 10 percent of patients inherit a Meninogokken disease.

Bacterial infections are the most common triggers of the brain are besides viruses, skin infections and Sepsis. As the causative agent of meningococcal and pneumococcal, which colonize the nose and throat-usually, however, usually do not cause any discomfort. The German Green cross is assumed that approximately ten percent of all Europeans meningococcal carry, to suffer without. Nevertheless, you can give the Inefktion more. This is exactly what makes the infection with meningococcal disease so dangerous. Just babies and small children are at risk, because their immune system is not yet Mature.

We have with travel and tropical medicine specialist Dr. med. Melanie Schneider talked about the nine important questions to meningococcal infection.

1. Meningitis: What are the main symptoms?

A brain skin inflammation (Meningitis) can be caused by various pathogens such as viruses, fungi or bacteria for example meningococcus.

In the case of a meningococcal disease can cause sudden, nonspecific symptoms such as headache, fever, chills, dizziness, and severe malaise. In the case of a brain skin inflammation, vomiting, and neck stiffness are added. Furthermore, symptoms such as irritability, drowsiness, and seizures or cranial nerves can occur paralysis. In septic gradients it comes to skin bleeding, drop in blood pressure and organ failure. In the case of suspected meningococcal disease immediately to a doctor or hospital should be consulted! More information can be found here.

2. There is a difference between a Meningitis in children and adults? How is this?

In infants and small children can show up in addition to possible symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, cramps, irritability or drowsiness is a bulging or hard Fontanelle (the column between the skull plates). A stiff neck may be absent, however, and the symptoms can be less clear than in adults. At the same time infants and young children, however, have to suffer, unfortunately, the highest risk of meningococcal disease because your immune system is not yet fully Mature.

3. How is diagnosed with Meningitis?

For the diagnosis of Meningitis (inflammation of the brain), is determined in addition to the investigation on the basis of clinical signs in the laboratory as the causative agent. It is thus tested, which is the pathogen that has triggered the inflammation of the meninges (Meningitis).

4. How do I become infected with meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal, will Speak via droplet infection (e.g., coughing, Kissing) is transmitted. Approximately one in ten adults carries the pathogen in the nasopharyngeal space, without becoming ill. So you can give the bacteria go unnoticed to others. Infants and toddlers have the highest risk for the disease. Early vaccination is therefore the best possible protection to meningococcal prevent disease.

5. As is a classic the course of a Meningitis?

Within a few hours may develop a Meningitis or meningococcal disease from non-specific symptoms of a life-threatening disease. The disease onset is usually very sudden and rapidly progressing. (see also response to symptoms)

6. What is the prognosis?

Meningococcal diseases are fortunately rare – around 300 cases per year in Germany. Due to the initially very non-specific symptoms, the disease can be detected, however, unfortunately, often late. Antibiotics are used for treatment.

In the worst case may occur in one out of five Affected consequential damages such as deafness, paralysis, scars and amputations. In the case of children with developmental disorders are possible. Up to one out of ten Patients died despite intensive medical treatment.

7. How about the vaccination? At what age, against what is meningococcal disease?

There are a total of twelve different meningococcal groups. Vaccinations are against five of the most common meningococcal groups in Germany: A, B, C, W and y are most common with about 60% of meningococcal B, followed by Y, C, W, A, and others. The vaccinations are aging in a different Life is possible, in part, already in the first months of life or in the first year of life. Individually, you may vaccinate against meningococcal B and C Against A, C, W, Y, there is a combination vaccination. Parents should appeal to the best at an early stage of their children – and youth doctor, when he recommends the vaccinations.

8. Why is the vaccine for meningitis B is not a cash-in-disease performance?

By default, the meningococcal C vaccine is recommended by the Standing Committee on vaccination (STIKO) for all children as early as possible in the 2. Years of age. This vaccination will be taken by all health plans as the mandatory power. Since 2015, the vaccination against meningococcal group B of the STIKO is already recommended for the health of the exposed persons with an increased risk of the disease. In addition, you will be refunded, however, in the same way as the ACWY – vaccination-many funds voluntarily on request. A General Standard to pronounce vaccination, the STIKO extensive data on vaccine-preventable disease and the relevant vaccination. Since the Evidence on the meningococcal B vaccine has not been evaluated by the STIKO as adequate and a low meningococcal B disease burden in Germany, has decided the STIKO, to wait with the evaluation of the Evidence for a possible Routine vaccination yet. Parents should, therefore, leave on the best individually by your children and youth physician.

9. Why is Meningitis to be reported?

For a meningococcal triggered Meningitis or Sepsis, a reporting obligation in accordance with the infection protection act. The purpose of the act is to prevent communicable diseases in humans, to detect infections at an early stage and prevent its further spread. Because of close contact with persons at increased risk, also with meningococcal infection, these can be identified by the Department of health and antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination to receive.

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