What is the definition of Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. This covering is called the meninges.

Bacteria are one type of germ that can cause meningitis. The pneumococcal bacteria are one kind of bacteria that cause meningitis.

What are the alternative names for Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Pneumococcal meningitis; Pneumococcus - meningitis

What are the causes for Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Pneumococcal meningitis is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria (also called pneumococcus, or S pneumoniae). This type of bacteria is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in adults. It is the second most common cause of meningitis in children older than age 2.

Risk factors include:

  • Alcohol use
  • Diabetes
  • History of meningitis
  • Infection of a heart valve with S pneumoniae
  • Injury or trauma to the head
  • Meningitis in which there is leakage of spinal fluid
  • Recent ear infection with S pneumoniae
  • Recent pneumonia with S pneumoniae
  • Recent upper respiratory infection
  • Spleen removal or a spleen that does not function

What are the symptoms for Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Symptoms usually come on quickly, and may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Mental status changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck

Other symptoms that can occur with this disease:

  • Agitation
  • Bulging fontanelles in infants
  • Decreased consciousness
  • Poor feeding or irritability in children
  • Rapid breathing
  • Unusual posture, with the head and neck arched backwards (opisthotonos)

Pneumococcal meningitis is an important cause of fever in infants.

What are the current treatments for Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Antibiotics will be started as soon as possible. Ceftriaxone is one of the most commonly used antibiotics.

If the antibiotic is not working and the provider suspects antibiotic resistance, vancomycin or rifampin are used. Sometimes, corticosteroids are used, especially in children.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Meningitis is a dangerous infection and it can be deadly. The sooner it is treated, the better the chance for recovery. Young children and adults over age 50 have the highest risk for death.

What are the possible complications for Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Long-term complications may include:

  • Brain damage
  • Buildup of fluid between the skull and brain (subdural effusion)
  • Buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling (hydrocephalus)
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures

When should I contact a medical professional for Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Call 911 or the local emergency number or go to an emergency room if you suspect meningitis in a young child who has the following symptoms:

  • Feeding problems
  • High-pitched cry
  • Irritability
  • Persistent unexplained fever

Meningitis can quickly become a life-threatening illness.

How do I prevent Pneumococcal Meningitis?

Early treatment of pneumonia and ear infections caused by pneumococcus may decrease the risk of meningitis. There are also two effective vaccines available to prevent pneumococcus infection.

The following people should be vaccinated, according to current recommendations:

  • Children
  • Adults age 65 and older
  • People at high risk for pneumococcus infection
Pneumococci
Pneumococcal

REFERENCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Bacterial meningitis. www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html. Updated August 6, 2019. Accessed December 1, 2020.

Hasbun R, Van de Beek D, Brouwer MC, Tunkel AR. Acute meningitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 87.

Ramirez KA, Peters TR. Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 209.

  • Condition: Streptococcus Pneumoniae Meningitis Complicated by Cerebral Infarction
  • Journal: Child's nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery
  • Treatment Used: Methylprednisolone Pulse Therapy
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
The study researched they outcomes of methylprednisolone pulse therapy for treating streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis complicated by cerebral infarction.