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A series of vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae, started at two months of age, has greatly reduced the incidence of that form of meningitis. Vaccines also exist against Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, but these vaccines are only recommended for those people who have particular susceptibility to those organisms, due to certain immune deficiencies, lack of a spleen, or sickle cell anemia.

Because N. meningitidis is known to cause epidemics of disease, close contacts of patients with such meningitis (other children in day care with the patient, other military personnel within the same training camp, and people living within the patient's household), are treated with Rifampin. This generally prevents spread of the disease.

Mothers with certain risk factors may be treated with antibiotics during labor, to prevent the passage of certain organisms which may cause meningitis in the newborn (particularly Group B streptococcus).



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Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt


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Blood-brain barrier

—A blockade of cells separating the circulating blood from elements of the central nervous system (CNS); it acts as a filter, preventing many substances from entering the central nervous system.

Cerebrospinal fluid (also called CSF)

—Fluid made in chambers within the brain; this fluid then flows over the surface of the brain and spinal cord, providing nutrition to cells of the nervous system, as well as cushioning.

Lumbar puncture (also called LP)

—A medical test in which a very narrow needle is inserted into a specific space between the vertebrae of the lower back in order to draw off and examine a sample of CSF.


—The three layer membranous covering of the brain and spinal cord, composed of the dura, arachnoid, and pia. Provides protection for the brain, as well as housing many blood vessels.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Mathematics to Methanal trimerMeningitis - Anatomical Considerations, Infectious Causes Of Meningitis, How The Infectious Agents Of Meningitis Gain Access To The Meninges