Diagnosis and Treatment 


Nhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Neisseria_gonorrhoeae_01.png. Meningitidis can be detected by doing a spinal tap to extract some Cerebrospinal Fluid from an individual’s spine.  If this CSF that is obtained appears to be cloudy it is most likely infected with bacterial meningitis and is cloudy because it has been placed under increased pressure.  The white blood cell count and protein concentration of the CSF will also be elevated if N. Meningitidis is present.  Additionally, Glucose levels will be reduced in the fluid.  Some of the CSF may then be tested in the laboratory by trying to grow more of the bacteria on a special agar plate.  This type of agar plate is called a chocolate agar because of its color.  It is composed of approximately 5-10% mammalian blood.  The agar plate is then put in an incubator to recreate the temperature that the bacteria will live in within the human body.  The plate is also in a chamber with slightly elevated Carbon Dioxide levels.  Once grown, some of the bacteria will be gram stained and if the bacteria turn out to be gram negative along, along with many of these other indicators; the person is diagnosed as having a bacterial meningitis infection due to N. Meningitidis.  This picture is an example of what a chocolate agar plate looks like.  


So you've got it...now what?


Bacterial Meningitis due to N. Meningitidis is a very serious disease that requires immediate treatment.  In children there are a combination of drugs that can work together to fight the infection in some cases. Cefotaxime and Chloramphenicol are two choices available to infants and small children that develop the disease.  There is research being done on drugs that regulate inflammatory responses because antibiotic therapy has had little effect on the fatality rate due to this organism.  Until a clear solution is found there are some options.  There are currently four polysaccharide vaccines that are now available for certain strains of N. Meningitidis.  Unfortunately the group that is at highest risk, infants and small children, rarely benefit from receiving this vaccination.  At this time, it is not recommended to receive the vaccination if you are living in a highly developed and industrialized country because these countries are at low risk for an epidemic of bacterial meningitis.  However adults in underdeveloped countries where epidemics are known to occur may be encouraged to have the vaccination because there are no adverse affects to adults having the vaccination.  In this case having the vaccination can not hurt but it is not known if it can completely help keep a person safe from N. Meningitidis either.  

Check out where N. Meningitidis lives!