Welcome to Ms. Lynch’s
12th Grade Health Class!
Awareness and Prevention
We will cover…
• What is meningitis?
• Viral vs. Bacterial
• Signs & Symptoms
• How is it diagnosed?
• Is it contagious?
• Can it be treated?
• Vaccines against bacterial meningitis
• Shana’s Story
What is meningitis?
• Meningitis is an infection and inflammation
of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the
fluid that surrounds the brain.
• People sometimes refer to it as spinal
• Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or
• Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a
virus or bacterium is important because the
severity of illness and the treatment differ.
The meninges is the system of the brain that envelops
the central nervous system. The primary function of the
meninges and the cerebrospinal fluid is to protect the
central nervous system.
Healthy vs. Infected Brain
Viral vs. Bacterial
• Viral meningitis is generally less severe and
resolves without specific treatment.
• Bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and
may result in brain damage, hearing loss,
learning disability, or death.
• For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to
know which type of bacteria is causing the
meningitis because antibiotics can prevent
some types from spreading and infecting other
We could never
The bacteria is spread through:
•other throat secretions
Not spread by casual
contact, but those living in
the same house, dating, or in
childcare may catch it.
Outbreaks may occur in:
Is meningitis contagious?
• Yes, some forms of bacterial meningitis
• The bacteria is spread through the
exchange of respiratory and throat
secretions (i.e., coughing, kissing, sharing
• Fortunately, none of the bacteria that
cause meningitis are spread by casual
contact or by simply breathing the air
What are the signs and
symptoms of meningitis?
• high fever
• and stiff neck are common symptoms of
meningitis in anyone over the age of 2
• These symptoms can develop over several
hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days.
• Other symptoms may include nausea,
vomiting, discomfort looking into bright
lights, confusion, and sleepiness.
How is meningitis diagnosed?
• Early diagnosis and treatment are very
important. If symptoms occur, the patient
should see a doctor immediately.
• The diagnosis is usually made by growing
bacteria from a sample of spinal fluid.
• Identification of the type of bacteria
responsible is important for selection of
Emergency Room Plaque
This flow chart is used in
some emergency rooms to
diagnose and treat bacterial
Can meningitis be treated?
Bacterial meningitis can be
treated with a number of
effective antibiotics. It is
important, however, that
treatment be started early in
Appropriate antibiotic treatment
the course of the disease.
of most common types of
bacterial meningitis should
reduce the risk of dying from
meningitis to below 15%.
Most colleges in the
U.S. require college
freshman and on The problem is… the
campus residents to vaccine required only
receive a vaccine gives prevention against
the Neisseria meningitidi
strand, only one of the two
leading causes of bacterial
The pneumococcal NOT BOTH?
polysaccharide vaccine gives
Pneumococcal disease, which
causes meningitis when the THIS VACCINE IS NOT
bacteria infects the brain. REQUIRED OR RARELY
BROUGHT UP WHEN
TALK WITH YOUR
DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS!
Did you get
Shana Wasserman is a beautiful 19
year old girl who contracted
Bacterial Meningitis in November of
2006. Because it went untreated
for too long, Shana’s body went into
attack and a coma. She died 8
short days later to a disease that
could have been prevented, and
Check out this video
for more information
on bacterial meningitis
and Shana’s Story.
After Shana’s untimely death, her mother Madeline set up a
foundation to bring awareness and prevention methods to
schools, hospitals, and the general public.
This plaque was designed
for and is donated to
hospital ER rooms to help
diagnose and treat bacterial
Legislation was passed that requires all
schools to teach students about bacterial
meningitis. Visit the link below to view the
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education – Bill #
The Shana Sculpture and other sculptures designated for college
campuses will be a constant reminder of the fragility of life at
the mercy of bacterial meningitis. Bronze sculptures of each
school’s mascot will be gifted to college campuses. Incoming
college freshman during their orientation walk will stop at the
sculpture and learn prevention, symptoms, warning signs, and
the proper and appropriate life saving response when bacterial
meningitis is suspected.
Be Your Own
Know who you’re
Cover your mouth
when you cough.
Keep the world beautiful! Prevent bacterial
Visit www.theshanafoundation.org for more
information on preventing bacterial meningitis.