What is Leptomeningeal Disease?
Leptomeningeal Disease is an infection of the meninges (the protective membrane) that covers the brain and spinal cord. When inflamed, the meninges swell due to the infection. The nervous system and the brain can be damaged in some cases. Three symptoms of meningitis to watch out for are fever, headache, and neck that feels stiff.
Symptoms of Leptomeningeal Disease in Children
The disease is often suffered by infants and children, but all people of all ages can develop meningitis as well. The signs that occur in children are:
- They may feel anxious, but do not want to be touched
- High fever with cold hands and feet
- Crying like a high pitched cry continuously
- Seem confused, weak, and less responsive
- Some children will be easily drowsy and difficult to wake up
- There may be a red rash that does not go away when the glass is rolled with a little press on it
- Refusing to suckle or eat with vomiting
The symptoms of meningitis that occur in older children, adolescents, and adults, include:
- Throws up
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Fever with a temperature of 38 ° C or more with feet and hands felt cold
- Breathing fast
- Sensitive to light or photophobia
- Skin rash in the form of red spots scattered (not happening to everyone)
There is a possibility that not everyone will experience all of the above symptoms. Look for medical help as soon as possible if you notice some symptoms of meningitis occurring in children.
In general, there are five types of meningitis:
- Bacterial meningitis
This type of meningitis is caused by bacteria and spreads through close contact. If left untreated, may cause severe brain damage, loss of hearing sensory and infect blood (septicemia). Patients with bacterial meningitis most babies under the age of one year.
- Viral meningitis
While the cause of viral meningitis is a virus that can spread through coughing, sneezing and unhygienic environment. Viral meningitis has similar symptoms with flu. Children under the age of five and someone with a weakened immune system have a greater risk of contracting viral meningitis.
- Meningitis mushrooms
Fungal meningitis is usually a result of the spread of fungus in the spinal cord through the bloodstream. A person’s risk of developing fungal meningitis will increase when his immune system is compromised, as in people with HIV and cancer. Some of the symptoms of fungal meningitis are the sufferers will be sensitive to light and feel confused.
- Parasitic meningitis
This type of meningitis is caused by a parasite that normally enters the body through the nose. The amoeba that causes parasitic meningitis is generally Naegleria fowleri. Amoeba is usually found in lakes, warm fresh water rivers, geothermal resources, untreated pools, water heaters and soil.
- Noninfectious meningitis
There are more than one factor that causes noninfectious meningitis. This type of meningitis is not contagious and has the same general symptoms as other types of meningitis.
Emergency Management and Diagnosis of Leptomeningeal Disease
Patients suspected of having meningitis should be treated promptly, even before the diagnosis is made. It is very dangerous to delay treatment for people with meningitis. The doctor will perform a physical examination to look for signs of meningitis or septicemia (blood infection) even signs of infected wounds around the head, ears, throat, and skin along the spine.
Diagnosis of meningitis is difficult because the symptoms appear suddenly and similar to flu symptoms. It is advisable to seek medical help immediately if you notice symptoms of meningitis, especially if it occurs in children. You may need to go to the nearest hospital emergency room whenever the symptoms appear. Do not wait for the appearance of a purple rash because not all meningitis sufferers have rashes on their body.
Steps of Treatment of Leptomeningeal Disease
The patient’s condition of viral meningitis will usually improve within a few weeks. Handling of viral meningitis can be done with plenty of rest and taking painkillers for headaches. While treatment of meningitis in patients with bacterial meningitis, can be treated with antibiotics or drugs to cope with bacterial infections. Treatment needs to be done in the hospital. For more severe cases, it is advisable to be treated at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the body’s vital functions to be monitored closely.
Leptomeningeal Disease vaccination
In Asia, there are two types of meningitis vaccine, the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine and the conjugate meningococcal vaccine. Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine can be given for any age and can provide 90-95 percent protection. For children under 5 years, this vaccine can last 1-3 years. As for adults will protect for 3-5 years. For conjugate mengingococcal vaccines only for ages 11-55 years, usually given to pilgrims and not recommended as routine immunization. The best way to prevent meningitis is to receive the available vaccinations.