Brain inflammation is also called brain or spinal inflammation. In meningitis, the membrane that protects the brain is inflamed. The inflammation also affects the central nervous system, and can be caused by a bacterium or a virus
It is a serious illness that can be fatal. It can also cause severe disability. Further consequences may be: deafness, partial paralysis, mental retardation or epilepsy.
Contamination occurs through the air (droplets of coughs or sneezing), or by physical contact. The bacteria pass through the blood on the cerebral membrane.
Three to four days after infection, the child becomes very ill. Depending on age age, the phenomena vary. A baby does not have the known neck stiffness so quickly, but may look very ill and have a gray color. High fever is possible, but not in all cases. In children and toddlers high fever occurs, sometimes with vomiting. Neck cramps may occur but are not always present immediately. Your child may become sicker within 24 hours. The child exhibits symptoms such as stiffness of the neck, confusion, drowsiness or pain in any movement or touch. A characteristic symptom of meningitis is also the appearance of purple-red spots (blood ink) that do not disappear when pressed (check with a glass). If you discover any of these spots in your child or, for other reasons, suspect that your child has meningitis, consult a doctor immediately.
The viral form of meningitis often heals within a few weeks. Prevention is the best treatment against the bacterial form, and this can be done by vaccination against Hib diseases via the National Vaccination Program.
Brain inflammation may also occur from another disease such as pneumonia or middle ear infection, so be alert if your child is ill.