Meningococcal Disease - Pathogenesis


Meningococcal disease causes life-threatening meningitis and sepsis conditions. In the case of meningitis, bacteria attack the lining between the brain and skull called the meninges. Infected fluid from the meninges then passes into the spinal cord, causing symptoms including stiff neck, fever and rashes. The meninges (and sometimes the brain itself) begin to swell, which affects the central nervous system.

Even with antibiotics, approximately 1 in 10 victims of meningococcal meningitis will die; However, about as many survivors of the disease lose a limb or their hearing, or suffer permanent brain damage. The sepsis type of infection is much more deadly, and results in a severe blood poisoning called meningococcal sepsis that affects the entire body. In this case, bacterial toxins rupture blood vessels and can rapidly shut down vital organs. Within hours, patient's health can change from seemingly good to mortally ill.

The N. meningitidis bacterium is surrounded by a slimy outer coat that contains disease-causing endotoxin. While many bacteria produce endotoxin, the levels produced by meningococcal bacteria are 100 to 1,000 times greater (and accordingly more lethal) than normal. As the bacteria multiply and move through the bloodstream, it sheds concentrated amounts of toxin. The endotoxin directly affects the heart, reducing its ability to circulate blood, and also causes pressure on blood vessels throughout the body. As some blood vessels start to hemorrhage, major organs like the lungs and kidneys are damaged.

Patients suffering from meningococcal disease are treated with a large dose of antibiotic. The systemic antibiotic flowing through the bloodstream rapidly kills the bacteria but, as the bacteria are killed, even more toxin is released. It takes up to several days for the toxin to be neutralized from the body by using continuous liquid treatment and antibiotic therapy.

Read more about this topic:  Meningococcal Disease

Other articles related to "pathogenesis":

Progressive Massive Fibrosis - Pathogenesis and Causes
... The pathogenesis of PMF is complicated, but involves two main routes - an immunological route, and a mechanical route ... as an effect of this, as well as reduced motility of cells, is fundamental to the pathogenesis of pneumoconiosis and the accompanying inflammation ... some mechanical factors involved in the pathogenesis of Complex Pneumoconiosis that should be considered ...
Serum Sickness-like Reaction - Pathogenesis
... Although the exact pathogenesis is poorly understood, serum sickness-like reactions are thought to originate from an abnormal inflammatory reaction that occurs in ...

The pathogenesis of a disease is the mechanism by which the disease is caused. The term can also be used to describe the origin and development of the disease and whether it is acute, chronic or recurrent. The word comes from the Greek pathos, "disease", and genesis, "creation".

Types of pathogenesis include microbial infection, inflammation, malignancy and tissue breakdown.

Most diseases are caused by multiple pathogenetical processes together. For example, certain cancers arise from dysfunction of the immune system (skin tumors and lymphoma after a renal transplant, which requires immunosuppression).

Often, a potential etiology is identified by epidemiological observations before a pathological link can be drawn between the cause and the disease.

Huntingtin-associated Protein 1 - Function
... thus elucidating a possible role for this protein in HD pathogenesis ... in the cytoplasm and postulated that this indicated HAP1 in pre-aggregate related HD pathogenesis ... The role of HAP1 in HD pathogenesis may involve aberration of cell cycle processes, as high immunostaining of HAP1 during the cell cycle has been observed ...