Meningococcemia is an uncommon type of blood infection caused by a bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. This infection can lead to meningitis, in which the bacteria invades the membranes of the spine and brain. It is more common in children and young adults. Any infection with this bacteria, whether or not it leads to meningitis, is considered a medical emergency that can be life-threatening. Approximately fifty percent of meningococcemia cases occur in patients under four years old, and young adults and individuals of all ages who live in a dormitory or other group setting face an increased risk of this condition. To diagnose the infection, doctors at the hospital will carry out blood tests, and a lumbar puncture may also be performed. Treatment of meningococcemia is provided in a hospital isolation unit to prevent the spread of the infection. It typically involves the use of several types of intravenous antibiotics, including rifampin, ciprofloxacin, and ceftriaxone. Patients are also given intravenous fluids.
The symptoms outlined below are some of those typically seen in patients with meningococcemia.
Presence Of Blood Clots
The presence of blood clots generally indicates an individual's meningococcemia may have advanced beyond the early stages. In healthy individuals, blood is a liquid. Blood clots develop when blood changes into a gel-like consistency and clumps together. These clots can occur in the arteries and veins of the body, and they may block blood flow to vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain. If left untreated, blood clots can be fatal. Doctors examining patients with suspected meningococcemia can do ultrasounds and other imaging studies to confirm whether a blood clot is present or not. If it is, patients can usually be given intravenous medications that may dissolve the clot. In addition to these scans, clinicians will perform a physical examination to check for possible symptoms of a blood clot. These typically include shortness of breath, swelling at the site of the clot, skin warmth or redness at the affected site, and pain in the area.
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