Meningitis is the inflammation of the membrane lining of the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It frequently refers to infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms. Fungal Meningitis is a very uncommon, life threatening disease and may be caused by a wide range of fungi, together with most commonly Cryptococcus Neoformans and Candida Albicans. Even though anyone can get Fungal Meningitis, people at elevated danger include those who have AIDS, Leukemia, or other forms of immunodeficiency and immunosuppression (immune system malfunction as a result of medical treatment).
Fungal Meningitis Causes
Fungal Meningitis may build up slowly and the disease may be difficult to diagnose and treat. Occasionally, the start of the infection can be acute and symptoms may extend swiftly.
- Cryptococcus Neoformans is the most frequent reason of Fungal Meningitis. The organism originated in soil, is widespread in the environment and can be spread through the air. The organism frequently gets admission into the body when people inhale air-borne spores. The huge majority of healthy people will not develop an infection from these inhaled Fungi; however, people with severely depressed immune systems may be incapable to thwart the fungi from surviving and causing infection. Cryptococcus Neoformans can cause localized skin lesions, pulmonary disease(infection in the lung and airways) and disease of the central nervous system. In some people, the organism can extend to the meninges and cause meningitis.
- Candida Albicans. Candida Albicans exists in the mouths, intestinal tract and vaginas of healthy people, usually with no ill effects. It can cause thrush but in rare cases. The fungus that causes thrush, Candida, can show the way to Meningitis in rare cases, especially in pre-mature babies with very low birth weight.
- Histoplasma is also a soil fungus, which can cause Meningitis and other illnesses in people with weak immune systems.
Fungal Meningitis Symptoms
Meningitis infection is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as
Symptoms of Fungal Meningitis are analogous to symptoms of other forms of Meningitis; however, they frequently become visible more slowly. In addition to typical meningitis symptoms, like headache, fever, nausea, and stiffness of the neck, people with fungal meningitis may also experience:
- Dislike of bright lights
- Changes in mental status
- Personality changes
Fungal Meningitis Diagnosis
The Neurological Examination will normally include a Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap) to acquire Cerebrospinal Fluid for analysis. The diagnosis can be completed within a few hours if encapsulated fungal cells are seen when Cerebro Spinal Fluid (CSF) specimens are examined under a microscope.This test can assist to recognize the presence of infection in the fluid and to categorize the causative organism. Other neurological testing, such as MRI and CT Scan, may also be carried out as well.
Fungal Meningitis Treatment
Patients with Cryptococcal Meningitis have need of Antifungal Drug Treatment. The best means is Amphotericin B, although this requires intravenous administration and has a number of repulsive side-effects, in some severe cases a catheter may be placed into the brain ventricles (fluid filled spaces inside the brain) to allow direct administration of drug into the cerebrospinal fluid. In non-AIDS patients, the drug can be stopped and the patient sent home after 6 – 10 weeks. Fungal Meningitis can be quite difficult to control and may lead to significant neurological mutilation or death.