Meningitis, which causes 20-30 percent disability, threatens people of all ages. Saying that it is possible to prevent meningitis with the right measures and considering its symptoms, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Department and Head of Infectious Diseases Association Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ceyhan shared important information with readers!


As part of World Meningitis Day on April 24 and World Immunization Week on April 24-29, which is celebrated to raise awareness of vaccine-preventable diseases. Meningococcal bacteria cause a severe disease picture called meningitis or meningococcemia at a rate of 3 to 4 per 100,000 every year in Turkey. Despite increasing diagnosis and treatment possibilities and new and effective drugs, meningitis causes 5-10% death and 20-30% disability. Since it is a disease that can be seen in all age groups, but most frequently in babies under the age of four and especially in babies under one year of age, it is necessary to provide protection with meningitis vaccines as early as possible.

Meningitis is a serious disease that causes death and sequelae such as deafness, mental retardation and epilepsy. The disease can be seen especially in children up to the age of 4 who are unvaccinated, and if not diagnosed early, it can lead to serious consequences that can lead to hearing loss, learning difficulties and death. It is mostly possible to be protected from meningitis, which weakens the immune system and causes inflammation, with a microbe or bacteria that contaminates the fluid around the brain membranes.


All microbes that cause meningitis, which can be transmitted from person to person, reach the blood from the respiratory tract and reach the cerebral membranes from the blood. It is difficult to get bacteria or viruses into the fluid that normally protects our brains and meninges, but when bacteria can carry very pathogenic properties and pass through, it is very difficult to prevent meningitis. Because it is a contagious disease, sick people should cover their mouth when coughing. It is very important for everyone to wash their hands after touching areas that may contain germs, as germs can remain alive for several hours.

It is noted that meningitis has three important symptoms: high fever, headache and vomiting. However, the symptoms may not always be so clear, especially in infants under the age of one. Necessary examinations should be performed when mild fever, inability to feed, vomiting, absent-mindedness or sometimes hypersensitivity to external stimuli are observed in the baby.


Not only children, but people of all ages should pay attention to meningitis.
Meningitis, which mostly affects children, can also be seen in adults because it is contagious and can be transmitted through the respiratory tract. For this reason, we need to take the measures we take for respiratory diseases in order to prevent the transmission of meningitis. Keeping sick people away from society, covering our mouth when coughing and of course hand washing are the most important ones. Because the droplets coming out of the respiratory tract, including the cough of the patient, are placed on all the objects around and can stay alive for several hours. In such a case, if a person who has touched the same spot does not wash their hands, it can cause the virus to be transmitted.

Early diagnosis is very important in meningitis. About twenty percent of the most common condition Adding to his words that he has hearing loss, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ceyhan also stated that learning difficulties, epilepsy, and vascular occlusion can be seen in addition to these.

General situation about meningococcal meningitis in the world and in our country
The general situation of meningococcal meningitis in the world and in our country varies depending on whether a routine vaccination against the disease is made or not. It is observed that the incidence of meningococcus has decreased in vaccinated countries. It is noted that while Hib (hemophilus influenzae type b) meningitis is no longer seen due to vaccination in Turkey, pneumococcal meningitis has decreased, but there is no decrease in meningococcal meningitis.

prof. Dr. Mehmet Ceyhan said, “The bacterium we call meningococcus creates that severe disease picture we call meningitis or meningococcemia in four out of every hundred thousand people, every year, with a frequency of four per hundred thousand. Meningococcemia has a picture that progresses with bleeding in the skin and internal organs and gangrene in the extremities and can cause death within minutes. Meningococcus also has a difference from other bacteria; Unfortunately, this bacterium is not seen in the same way every year. Therefore, in order to provide full protection, both vaccines should be administered from an early period,”he said.


Meningitis is caused by two groups of germs, viruses and bacteria. Stating that mumps is the most common virus in Turkey, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ceyhan stated that apart from these, there is an enterovirus that settles in the intestine and can be transmitted from water and unwashed foods, while the rest is transmitted by respiratory tract. He pointed out that ninety-five percent of these cases were caused by three important bacteria: pneumococcus, Hib, that is, hemophilus influenza type b, and meningococcus.

Hemophilus influenza Type B vaccine has been given in the vaccination calendar of the Ministry of Health since 2006, so Hib meningitis is no longer seen especially in vaccinated children. Among the bacterial meningitis agents, only the vaccine against meningococcal bacteria remained in the national vaccination calendar. 5 types of bacteria cause meningococcal meningitis.

These are types A, B, C, W, Y. There is a meningococcal vaccine, which we call a quadruple vaccine that provides protection against four of them, A, C, W, Y. There is also a vaccine that provides protection against type B. These vaccines are licensed and can be made in our country starting from the 2nd month.

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