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Dec 6, 2023

The Different Types of Meningitis Explained

Melissa Diaz-Musa

Diaz-Musa explained the difference with the different types of meningitis that people can become infected with. She explained that the first child’s case was a bacterial infection that caused the meningitis. While one type can be deadly, the others can be treated but they can all have lasting impact on the patient.


Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa, Director of Public Health & Wellness

“Meningitis can be caused by a bacteria, by a virus, by a fungus. Most commonly, we would see viral or bacterial. meningitis. Now, there are different types of bacteria that can cause meningitis, and two of the more common types of bacteria are streptococcus pneumoniae, which is the one that we think that we’re dealing with, or another bacteria called neserea meningitidis, which causes meningococcal meningitis, which is the meningitis that most people would have heard about – the one that is extremely deadly, that spreads. The child becomes very sick within hours and it’s highly contagious. Now streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacteria that can cause upper airway infections. It could cause sinusitis laryngitis, pharyngitis, pneumonias, skin infections, and meningitis. It is not generally recommended to give prophylaxis to contacts of persons with strip pneumonia because it’s not highly contagious like neserea meningitis. And so, for, for this particular case, it’s not, um, black or white. So if it was neserea, yes, immediately we would be given out prophylaxis, we know what we need to be looking out for, but strep pneumonia we carry in our nasal passages, and we might not be sick, so you and I might carry that bacteria, we might carry it on our skin and we’re well. But some certain changes occur and that same bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms. So having said all of that it is contagious like any other virus or any other bacteria, but it is not highly contagious. And for that reason in public health we have definitions of close contact or just general contacts you do a circle to say the immediate family would be close contacts. And then it expands. Outside of that, we also have to look at the time frame of the last contact of the index case. So he was last at school and babysitter, approximately, seven days ago, I think last at school last Wednesday and last at the babysitter last Tuesday. So, we know as well that. Usually with spread, you would see persons getting ill within three to four days, but there is a bigger window as well. We’ve got to always ensure that we remind parents and we remind family that even if that eight days has passed and your child had contact and becomes ill, that child might develop a cold or cough, but we still want you to seek care and to go and see your paediatrician to ensure that there is nothing else going on with that child.”


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