World Meningitis Day
World Meningitis Day 2017 is observed on 24th April every year to
raise awareness about the disease, which can be life threatening.
theme for this year's World Meningitis Day is "24hours-trust your instincts",
laying stress on the need for early detection.
award winner, Dr. C.U.Velmurugendran talks exclusively to Medindia about
meningitis, care and preventive strategies.
is observed on the 24th
of April to spread awareness about the disease, awareness and knowledge being
key to prevention. Meningitis
is a disease that occurs when there is an
inflammation of the meninges- the thin lining that covers the brain and spinal
cord. The inflammation is due to an infection, with the severity of the
infection dependent on the cause of infection.
‘“Personal hygiene is very important along with early identification for effective care for meningitis”- Dr. C.U. Velmurugendran.’
meningitis at an early stage is vital so that treatment can be started as soon
as possible and incidences of fatality prevented. The most characteristic symptom
of meningitis is a severe headache
along with an inability to move the head forward
due to a condition called nuchal
, where there is stiffness and rigidity of the neck muscle.
The Early symptoms of Meningitis
Advanced Symptoms of Meningitis
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Shivering or cold
hands and feet
- Blotchy skin
along with lips that may turn blue
Theme for World Meningitis Day 2017
- Heavy breathing
- Neck Stiffness
unable to tolerate bright light
'24 Hours- Trust Your Instincts'
is known to affect more than 1 million
people worldwide and in extreme cases, this infection can lead to death within
24 hours. Therefore, it is very important to identify symptoms early and to get
the right treatment immediately.
forms of meningitis can be prevented using vaccines but there are other forms
like tuberculosis meningitis which cannot be prevented with vaccination.
World Meningitis Day 2017, Medindia conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. C.U.Velmurugendran
, a leading
neurologist from Chennai.
2008 he was the recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri
Award instituted by the Government of India
- He worked for The
World Health Organization in
- He was a senior
neurologist at Dr. MGR Medical
University and then at Sri
Ramachandra Medical College
- He is currently
in the faculty selection committee at
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology
- He is a recipient
of an honorary Doctorate degree instituted by the Dr. M.G.R Medical University
Q. Doctor, you have been in the field of
neurology for many years, how has the experience been?
have been in this field for over 60 years and it has been very pleasant.
Q. How many patients with meningitis are
reported in Chennai?
I will not be able to tell you how many patients have meningitis in general,
but I can tell you from the hospital perspective. We see
one new patient with meningitis every week.
Q. How severe is meningitis?
is a very severe and serious condition. It affects the meninges, which is the
layer covering the brain. It is important to identify the disease early so that
the correct diagnosis may be provided.
Q. What are the early signs of the disease?
normally present with fever, severe headache and vomiting. Children, who are
unable to state the reason behind their discomfort, may cry nonstop. The
patients may seem to have a chronic headache and it could lead to a loss of
appetite, convulsions and a lapse of memory. In such situations, the patient
should be rushed to the doctor to prevent any further damage to the brain.
patients may enter into a coma, though many patients have been brought back to
normal after that, it can be avoided by providing treatment at the right stage.
Q. What are the treatment options available for
treatment provided depends upon the cause of meningitis. In pyogenic
meningitis, antibiotics may be provided, while in tuberculosis meningitis,
there are specific drugs. There were only 3 drugs available for tuberculosis
meningitis 60 years back, but there are multiple drugs available now. There are
corticosteroids that are provided to patients and surgical interventions to remove
obstructions to the flow of blood. In extreme cases, the skull may be opened to
help with treatment.
Q. How can meningitis be prevented?
caused by tuberculosisis a constant
threat as TB is air borne and can affect the lungs, after which it can move
into the meninges. Other causes for meningitis are infections of the central
nervous system, scalp, skin or even ear infections which could ultimately
infect the meninges. There are vaccines like BCG that offer some amount of
protection. It is important to look after the general health and ensure good
washing is highly recommended but few people actually follow it. Pigs are other
sources of meningitis causing infections, home cooked meals should be preferred
after following good cooking practices.
Q. Children use a lot of tablets and
smartphones, does that affect the neurological development?
are many benefits of children using tablets, school children get their homework
schedules these days. However, excessive use and exposure to aggressive
behavior in the games could lead to the imprinting of such behavior. There are
no known effects on neurological development.
Q. What is your advice to caregivers of people
with meningitis doctor?
is highly infectious and it can spread very fast. Caregivers should have their
mouths covered, and they should be safe. However, the patient would need their
physical and emotional support and they should be with them to help them
through this condition.
Q. Finally, What is your message to people on
this World Meningitis Day?
the symptoms of meningitis early, there would be constant headache, blurring of
vision and nausea which are classic symptoms of the disease. The faster you
take your loved one to the doctor, the better the chances of survival.
- Meningitis - (https:www.nhp.gov.in/disease/neurological/meningitis)
- World Meningitis Day 2017 - (https:labtestsonline.org/site-news/mnews/170404-worldmeningitisday/)
- WORLD MENINGITIS DAY 2017 - (http://www.comomeningitis.org/world-meningitis-day/wmd-2017/)