what the disease is and how it is treated

A tragic news story turns the spotlight back on bacterial meningitis in Italy. In fact, a 7-month-old baby died at Bambino Gesù in Rome after contracting a violent form of meningitis. Unfortunately, within a few hours, the disease advanced, leaving no escape for the little boy who, having arrived at Santa Maria Goretti in Latina with a high fever, died in the capital.

7-month-old baby killed by meningitis

Fortunately, meningitis had not hit the headlines for several months, but due to a final and violent episode it has made the news again. Unfortunately, a 7-month-old baby who died in Rome due to the inexorable spread of the disease within a few hours paid the price. The little boy, who was hospitalized on Saturday 20 January at Santa Maria Goretti in Latina, had initially only suffered a very high fever.

But the situation worsened in the following hours, with the child’s condition immediately appearing worrying. The fever, in fact, showed no signs of abating and the doctors, having understood the situation, decided to opt for the transfer to the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome.

Despite the rush to the hospital in the capital and the care administered by the medical staff, the child did not survive the violence of the disease and died on Sunday 21 January.

At the moment no complaints have been filed and there are no open investigations into the case, but the little boy’s family has decided to contact the lawyer Giovanni Codastefano to evaluate the possibility of requesting further investigationsin the hope of being able to have more information on what happened before his son’s death.

What is meningitis and how is it treated

News, as mentioned, which makes the fear of meningitis circulate again. It’s about a Invasive Bacterial Disease (MIB) which, as reported by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) falls within the circle of “infections characterized by the presence of bacteria in normally sterile sites (for example blood, cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid)”.

THE more classic and more specific symptoms of meningitis are:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Fever
  • Altered mental state
  • Tachypnea (Rapid breathing)
  • Tachycardia
  • Low pressure
  • Spots on the skin such as petechiae and ecchymoses

Specifically, MIB can be caused by bacteria such as meningococcus or it pneumococcus. Among the risk factors for MIB, the ISS lists age, seasonality, community life, smoking and comorbidity, i.e. the presence of other upper respiratory tract infections or some immunodeficiencies.

But it is still a pathology that can be treated. The ISS, in fact, makes it known that the treatment of bacterial meningitis is based above all on antibiotic therapy. The identification and characterization of the bacterium causing the disease is important both to guide the patient’s antibiotic therapy and to define whether contact prophylaxis is necessary. In case of meningococcal and, to a lesser extent, meningitis Haemophilus influenzae b, close contacts of the patient have a greater risk of becoming ill than the general population. This is why their antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated.

As regards vaccines, however, in Italy since the 1990s vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae b. Vaccines against some pneumococcal serotypes and some meningococcal serogroups are also available on the market. As regards pneumococcus, the 10-valent conjugate vaccine, the 13-valent conjugate vaccine and the 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine are available, while for meningococcus, polysaccharide conjugate vaccines are currently available against serogroups A, C, W and Y and the vaccine conjugated against serogroup C. New protein vaccine formulations are also currently available to prevent invasive forms of meningococcal serogroup B.