Information for Patients
Meningococci are a type of bacteria that cause serious infections. The most common infection is meningitis, which is an inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Meningococci can also cause other problems, including a serious bloodstream infection called sepsis.
Meningococcal infections can spread from person to person. Risk factors include
- Age - it is more common in infants, teens, and young adults
- Living in close quarters, such as in college dorms or military settings
- Certain medical conditions, such as not having a spleen
- Travel to areas where meningococcal disease is common
In its early stages, you may have flu-like symptoms and a stiff neck. But the disease can progress quickly and can be fatal. Early diagnosis and treatment are extremely important. Lab tests on your blood and cerebrospinal fluid can tell if you have it. Treatment is with antibiotics. Since the infection spreads from person to person, family members may also need to be treated.
A vaccine can prevent meningococcal infections.
The pericardium is a membrane, or sac, that surrounds your heart. It holds the heart in place and helps it work properly. Problems with the pericardium include
- Pericarditis - an inflammation of the sac. It can be from a virus or other infection, a heart attack, heart surgery, other medical conditions, injuries, and certain medicines.
- Pericardial effusion - the buildup of fluid in the sac
- Cardiac tamponade - a serious problem in which buildup of fluid in the sac causes problems with the function of the heart
Symptoms of pericardial problems include chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. Fever is a common symptom of acute pericarditis. Your doctor may use a physical exam, imaging tests, and heart tests to make a diagnosis. Treatment depends on the cause.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute