Medical Surgical Meningitis #3

Question

The nurse is caring for a child with bacterial meningitis and the mother asks if it is contagious. Which is the best answer by the nurse?

Answers

  1. “Bacterial meningitis is contagious until 24 hours after treatment with antibiotics and transmitted by direct contact and droplets.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because meningitis caused by bacteria is contagious until it is killed by antibiotics which is usually 24 hours after treatment. It is spread by direct contact and droplets. Transmission can occur in close, crowded living spaces.

  2. “Bacterial meningitis is highly infectious and is considered airborne transmission.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because bacterial meningitis is not considered infectious, as it is spread by person to person and not by an infectious agent. Also, the droplets associated with bacterial meningitis are large and unable to suspend in air for long times; therefore, airborne transmission is not possible.

  3. “Bacterial meningitis is contagious until 24 hours after treatment with antibiotics and is considered airborne transmission.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct since it is not considered airborne transmission. Although, it is no longer considered contagious after the first 24 hours of antibiotic therapy.

  4. “Bacterial meningitis is not contagious because it is transmitted from an insect and cannot be spread human to human.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because bacterial meningitis is not a vector-borne disease transmitted by an insect. It is caused by Neisseria meningitidis and spreads through close contact with infected people.

Overview

Bacterial meningitis is inflammation of the meninges around the brain and spinal cord caused by bacteria. Bacterial meningitis is contagious until 24 hours after treatment with antibiotics and transmitted by direct contact and droplets.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Bacterial meningitis is inflammation of the meninges around the brain and spinal cord caused by bacteria. Bacterial meningitis is contagious until 24 hours after treatment. Treatment for meningitis consists of intravenous antibiotics. It is transmitted by direct contact and droplets. Transmission can occur in close, crowded living spaces. It is spread from person to person, not insect to person or animal to person. The droplets from meningitis are larger and do not suspend in air for the time periods associated with airborne transmission.

Test Taking Tip

Understand the different mode of transmission as it relates to bacteria and viruses.

Video Rationale