Before I contracted bacterial meningitis in 2008, I had never heard of it. I didn’t know how it was transmitted, what the symptoms were or how to help prevent it. After spending seven months in the hospital and losing all my fingers and both legs below the knee, I learned as much as I could about meningococcal disease. Now I want others to know what I didn’t.
- Meningococcal meningitis, often referred to as meningitis, is an inflammation of the protective membranes, or meninges, covering the brain and spinal cord.
- About one in 10 people carry the bacteria, Neisseria meningitidis, that can cause meningitis. These bacteria live in the back of the nose and throat. People who have the bacteria without any signs or symptoms of the disease are called “carriers.”
- Meningitis is uncommon but can be fatal. About one in 10 people infected with meningococcal disease will die.
- About one in five meningitis survivors will suffer long-term disability, such as loss of limbs (like me), brain damage, deafness and nervous system problems.