Types of Meningitis

October 17, 2016 by James McHugh, Jr.
Meningitis lawyers

Meningitis is a rare, but deadly infection that affects thousands of Americans each year. The infection causes an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and getting immediate medical treatment is the key to preventing permanent damage or death. While most people are familiar with bacterial meningitis, there are actually six different types of meningitis.

  • Bacterial – Bacterial meningitis is incredibly serious, and death can occur in as little as a few hours. Bacteria like Streptococcus and Listeria can cause permanent damage in the brain, which can lead to hearing loss and learning disabilities.
  • Viral – Viruses like influenza, mumps, measles, West Nile virus, and chickenpox most commonly cause meningitis. While most people with viral meningitis get better on their own, some cases develop rapidly and require emergency medical treatment.
  • Fungal – In rare cases, meningitis can be caused by certain fungi. This occurs when a person inhales fungal spores that travel to the spinal cord. People with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer from this type of meningitis.
  • Parasitic – Several varieties of parasites can cause meningitis. While these parasites usually infect animals, people can contract parasitic meningitis by ingesting contaminated or undercooked foods. Parasites can also be found in dirt, so children who play outside are particularly susceptible to this type of meningitis.
  • Amebic – Free-living microscopic amoebas called Naegleria fowleri can cause a rare and life-threatening brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The amoeba can be found in warm water and soil and is sometimes referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba.” Although the amoebas usually eat bacteria, when they enter the brain they begin to eat brain tissue.
  • Non-infectious – Despite common belief, meningitis is not always spread from person to person or contracted outside the body. Sometimes meningitis is caused by other factors such as cancer, Lupus, certain medications, brain surgery, and even head injuries.

Meningitis is often misdiagnosed as a flu, cold, or low-grade fever – especially in newborns. However, without a blood test and/or spinal tap, meningitis can go undiagnosed and have serious consequences for the patient.

Meningitis Misdiagnosis Attorneys

If a doctor in Pennsylvania failed to diagnose any of the types of meningitis, you may be able to file a claim. If you or someone you know was diagnosed with meningitis and suspect there was a delay in diagnosis, contact one of the meningitis lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP to discuss your case.

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