The bacteria are transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers. Close and prolonged contact such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters (such as a dormitory, sharing eating or drinking utensils) with an infected person (a carrier) – facilitates the spread of the disease.
The meningococcal meningitis pandemic that began in 1996 has resulted so far in approximately 300,000 cases being reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 15% of those who survive are left with disabilities that include deafness, brain damage, and neurological problems.
Treatment may begin immediately if signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease are clear enough. If what is wrong is not clear, the patient may be kept under observation at first. Along with a physical examination, blood will be taken for tests and the doctor may do a lumbar puncture. Lumbar puncture is important to confirm the diagnosis of meningitis, and to show which germ is causing the illness.
Major research on disease:
Genomic epidemiology of age-associated meningococcal lineages in national surveillance: an observational cohort study.If a patient with meningitis is very severely ill, it might not be safe to do a lumbar puncture right away, so this may be postponed. Having the diagnosis confirmed can be helpful afterwards, for example when seeking long-term medical advice and follow-up care.