Encyclopedia Home / M / Meningitis - meningococcal

Meningitis - meningococcal

  • Alternative Names

    Meningococcal meningitis


    Treatment with antibiotics should be started as soon as possible. Ceftriaxone is one of the most commonly used antibiotics for meningococcal meningitis. Penicillin in high doses is almost always effective, too.

    If the antibiotic is not working and the health care provider suspects antibiotic resistance, chloramphenicol may be used. Sometimes corticosteroids may be used, especially in children.

    People in close contact with someone who has meningococcal meningitis should be given antibiotics to prevent infection. Such people include:

    • Household members
    • Roommates in dormitories
    • Those who come into close and long-term contact with an infected person

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Early treatment improves the outcome. The death rate ranges from 5% - 15%. Young children and adults over 50 have the highest risk of death.

    • Brain damage
    • Hearing loss
    • Hydrocephalus
    • Myocarditis
    • Seizures
    • Subdural effusion (buildup of fluid between the skull and brain)

    Calling your health care provider

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

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

    Call the local emergency number if you develop any of the serious symptoms listed above. Meningitis can quickly become a life-threatening illness.