Neisseria meningitidis bacteria cause an infection called Meningococcemia. These bacteria are common in the upper respiratory tract and are also the one who causes meningitis.
It is called meningitis if the bacteria infect the membranes that cover your brain and spinal cord while it is meningococcemia if the infection remains in your blood but doesn’t infect your brain or spinal cord.
Meningococcemia is usually in infants, children and young adults although anyone can get this.
Neisseria meningitides infection either meningitis or meningococcemia, is regarded as a medical emergency and in need of urgent medical attention.
Initially, you may only have common symptoms such as:
- rash consisting of small spots
But as the disease develops, you may have these following symptoms:
- blood clots
- patches of bleeding under your skin
Usually, meningococcemia is diagnosed through blood tests in which your doctor will get a sample of your blood. Then he or she will perform a blood culture to find out if bacteria are present.
Also, your doctor may conduct the same test but instead of your blood, he or she will use a fluid from your spine. This test is known as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture and the doctor will get CSF from a spinal tap, or lumbar puncture.
The doctor may carry out other tests include:
- blood clotting tests
- skin biopsy
- complete blood count
- urine test
Because meningococcemia must be treated urgently, you’ll be admitted to the hospital then probably, to stop the bacteria from spreading, you will be kept in an isolated room.
Through your vein, you will be given antibiotics to help in fighting off the infection. Additionally, you may receive intravenous fluids.
Additional treatments vary on the symptoms you have developed. For instance, you will obtain oxygen if you have difficulty in breathing and will get a medication if your blood pressure becomes too low.
Meningococcemia may lead to bleeding disorders so your doctor may give you platelet replacement therapy if this happens.
In several cases, your doctor may also recommend giving your close contacts even if they show no symptoms some prophylactic antibiotics to prevent them from getting the disease.