Dangerous meningitis: Acute case of meningococcal meningitis has occurred
An acute case of meningitis (meningococcal meningitis) has occurred in a man from Sinzig (Rhineland-Palatinate). All direct contacts received prophylactic medication in the form of antibiotics. Now we are looking for other people who have had contact with the person concerned in the past few days. Meningococcal disease can be fatal.
Drug prophylaxis for contact persons
As the district administration of Ahrweiler (Rhineland-Palatinate) reports on its website, an acute case of meningitis (meningococcal meningitis) has occurred in a man from Sinzig. According to the information, the district health office has initiated the necessary measures. "All direct contact persons have received medication prophylaxis in the form of antibiotics from resident doctors and hospitals," the message says.
Search for people who had contact with the sick person
As explained further there, the precautionary measures of the health department include “in particular the determination of the group of people with whom the man has had close contact in the past few days. There is only a risk of infection from close, direct contacts. "
Meningococci are bacteria that settle in the nasopharynx of humans and, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), can be detected there in about ten percent of the population without any clinical symptoms.
They are most commonly transmitted by droplet infection. When talking, coughing or sneezing, the bacteria escape into the air in small droplets from the nasopharynx and can be inhaled from a short distance.
In addition, the pathogens can be transmitted as a smear infection even in close contact with the sick, for example by touching the nasal secretion. Outside the body, the bacteria die quickly.
Infection often leads to blood poisoning or meningitis
According to health experts, two forms of meningococcal disease can occur individually or together:
“Meningococcal diseases develop as meningitis in about two thirds of the cases. In about a third of the cases, the course is characterized by sepsis, ”explains the RKI on its website.
The onset of illness is usually very sudden and rapidly progressing.
Seek medical help quickly if symptoms appear
"In the early stages, the disease can be mistaken for a flu-like infection," writes the Ahrweiler district administration.
"First symptoms can appear as an infection of the upper airways, fever, chills, malaise, vomiting, headache, sensitivity to light, joint pain, skin bleeding and stiff neck."
The office warns: "If these symptoms occur or in cases of doubt, it is recommended to immediately consult your family doctor or the medical emergency service."
Disease can be fatal
According to experts, meningococcal diseases are extremely rare in Germany - there are only about five cases per million people every year.
However, a young child died only a few months ago in Hesse as a result of a meningococcal infection.
It is not known why only very few individuals fall ill and others do not. (ad)