Meningitis Rash

Meningitis rash is a symptom of an underlying case of meningitis, which is an inflammatory condition of meninges. It points to inflammation of the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain. Meningitis is the manifestation of infection that has already spread. The inflammation of membranes can be identified through the typical signs of meningitis such as stiff neck, fever, and headache in all individual subjects, who are above two years of age.

Symptoms of meningitis rash

The symptoms of meningitis may develop in a period of several hours or in few days. Most often, the signs of meningitis are mistaken for flu. Some of the symptoms accompanying meningitis rash are listed below:

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  • Distinctive severe headache
  • Fever with high temperatures
  • Stiff neck
  • Displaying lowered concentration and confusion of mind. Children and infants elicit the signs of meningitis by showing their inability to sustain prolonged eye contact
  • Convulsions
  • Lowered interest in eating and drinking
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Finding it difficult to wake up, or feeling sleepy
  • Viral meningitis or meningococcal may elicit increased sensitivity to light in addition to development of meningitis rash

Newborn infants normally do not show the typical symptoms of meningitis and also they may not experience the headaches of stiff neck. Instead, however they show the following symptoms shown as under:

  • Find themselves more sleepy
  • Continuous crying
  • High fever
  • Inactive, lazy and lethargic
  • Seizures
  • Poor feeding habits
  • A swelling on the soft spot on top of the head, called as fontanel, may be noticed
  • Stiffness of body and neck
  • Parents may find it difficult to comfort the child. They cry more when they are picked up.

Causes of meningitis rash

Generally meningitis rash develops due to viral infections

Meningitis may also be caused by bacterial infections, and rarely due to fungal infections.

Bacterial meningitis: When bacteria infect the blood, acute bacterial meningitis occur, which travels later to spinal cord and brain. The meningitis can elicit a direct attack by bacteria due to skull fracture, or by ear infection or sinus. The following are some of the common strains of bacteria that cause meningitis:

  • Haemophilus influenza: In 1900s, Haemophilus influenza commonly caused bacterial meningitis in children. The Hib vaccines reduced the cases bacterial meningitis rash caused by this bacterium. Normally this type of meningitis is followed after sinusitis, or upper respiratory infection and an ear infection.
  • Neisseria meningitis: The infection of upper respiratory system paves the way for the bacterium to travel to the nervous system. It can infect the blood stream also. It is very contagious and normally prevalent in young adults and adolescents.
  • Streptococcus pneumonia: In US, it stands as the primary cause for bacterial meningitis in adults, infants and children. This type of bacterium normally causes ear infections, sinus or pneumonia.
  • Listeria monocytogenes: It is prevalent in contaminated foods, soil, dust, animals etc. Generally this bacterium does not affect healthy persons. But the old aged, babies, pregnant women and the persons with impaired immune systems are prone to get this type of bacterial meningitis.
  • Chronic meningitis: It is a rare type and develops slowly in a span period of two weeks or more. The nervous system is infected by the slow growing microorganisms and their symptoms are headache, vomiting, confusion and fever.

Viral meningitis: Most incidents of meningitis and meningitis rash develop due to viral infections rather than bacterial infections. In most cases the infection is caused by non-specific viruses.  As such a particular virus cannot be held as responsible for the infection. However, in US, it has become clear that about 30% cases of viral meningitis are caused by enteroviruses. The symptoms of sore throat, meningitis rash, joint aches, headache and diarrhea are the results of viral infections. The virus causing the infection is mostly prevalent in the early months of summer as well as later in the season.

Treatment of meningitis rash

  • Meningitis rash and meningitis caused by viral infections, usually disappear in due course of time on their own even without the treatment. The normal treatment for this type of infection is consuming of a lot of fluids, taking pain killer medicine for controlling pain and fever, and bed rest. Few cases of viral meningitis may require the treatment with antiviral drugs.
  • Bacterial meningitis needs treatment with intravenous injections of antibiotics or a combination of particular antibiotics. The mastoids or sinuses, if found infected, may necessitate drainage and other surgical procedures. To remove the infected liquid from the brain, if necessary, a surgical drainage may need to be performed. Vaccinations do help to prevent the entry of certain types of bacterial meningitis.
  • Other types of meningitis are required to be treated as per the tests and diagnosis.


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