How serious is meningitis in newborns?

Meningitis is an uncommon but serious, life-threatening infection. However, a baby will almost always fully recover when it’s diagnosed and treated early. If treatment is delayed, a baby can still recover, but they may be left with one or more long-term effects, including: blindness.

How long does it take for a baby to recover from meningitis?

Most cases of viral meningitis can be recovered from at home with rest, water, and painkillers if necessary. Remember to ask a doctor or pharmacist before giving your baby any over-the-counter medication. Generally, you can expect your baby to recover from viral meningitis in 7 to 10 days.

How common is meningitis in newborns?

In the United States, there are roughly 300 to 400 cases of neonatal meningitis for every 100,000 live births. A rare type of meningitis, this often life-threatening condition affects newborns and is caused by various bacteria, including group B strep, E. coli, and listeria.

What causes meningitis in newborns?

Many different types of bacteria can cause bacterial meningitis. In newborns, the most common causes are group B strep, E. coli, and less commonly, Listeria monocytogenes. In older kids, Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) are often the causes.

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How does meningitis affect a baby?

Share on Pinterest Symptoms of meningitis in babies can include extreme sleepiness, refusal to feed, and fever or chills. The symptoms of meningitis in babies may not be alarming at first. Some babies may simply appear irritable or tired.

Can babies survive meningitis?

Out of 1,000 live births, about 0.1 to 0.4 neonates (a baby less than 28 days old) get meningitis, estimates a 2017 review. It’s a serious condition, but 90 percent of these babies survive.

How is neonatal meningitis treated?

Antibiotic choices for neonatal meningitis include ampicillin and gentamicin or cefotaxime. For infants younger than 8 days old, the dose for Ampicillin is 150 mg/kg per day divided every 8 hours, plus gentamicin 4 mg/kg daily or cefotaxime 100 to 150 mg/kg per day divided every 8 to 12 hours.

How is neonatal meningitis diagnosed?

Definitive diagnosis of neonatal bacterial meningitis is made by CSF examination via lumbar puncture (LP), which should be done in any neonate suspected of having sepsis or meningitis. However, LP can be difficult to do in a neonate, and there is some risk of hypoxia.

What is the survival rate for bacterial meningitis?

Prognosis of meningitis depends on the cause. Untreated bacterial meningitis has a very high death rate. Even with appropriate treatment, the death rate from bacterial meningitis is about 15-20%, with a higher death rate associated with increasing age.

Can meningitis be passed through breast milk?

There are concrete steps women can take to keep breast milk safe, health officials say after a preterm infant developed severe meningitis from mother’s milk that became contaminated through a breast pump.

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How serious is meningitis?

Bacterial meningitis is serious. Some people with the infection die and death can occur in as little as a few hours. However, most people recover from bacterial meningitis. Those who do recover can have permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities.

What does meningitis in babies look like?

Look out for tiny red or brown pin-prick marks which can change into larger red or purple blotches and blood blisters. The darker the skin the harder it is to see a septicaemic rash so check lighter areas like the palms of hands and soles of feet or look inside the eyelids and the roof of the mouth.

How do newborns get bacterial infections?

Most infections in newborn babies are caused by bacteria, and some by viruses. A mother’s birth canal contains bacteria, especially if they have an active infection. During childbirth, the baby can swallow or breathe in the fluid in the birth canal, and bacteria or viruses can get into their lungs and blood.

What is the most common cause of meningitis in infants?

The two most common causes of bacterial meningitis in older infants and children in the United States are bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, and Neisseria meningitidis, or meningococcus.

What are the long term effects of bacterial meningitis in an infant?

Hence, bacterial meningitis is associated with learning and memory deficits, cognitive deficiencies and sensorimotor impairments including hearing and visual loss, and motor dysfunction [9]–[11]. Up to a third of all survivors suffer transient or permanent deafness or other neurological sequelae [12].

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Are babies vaccinated for meningitis?

Meningitis vaccines are routinely given to babies from the age of 2 months onwards. Young children have less developed immune systems than older age groups which means that they are at increased risk. Vaccination is a safe way to develop protection against some common causes of disease.