Death of a little girl with meningitis in Evreux : how the meninges become infected ?

Health 29 January, 2018


Published the 29.01.2018 at 13: 15


Keywords :

méningitePonction lombairecerveau

A little girl of 2 years old died from a bacterial meningitis fulminant on January 26 at the hospital of Evreux, in Normandy. An emergency procedure has been put in place by the Regional Agency of Health (ARS) to identify the persons who have been in contact with it : according to the municipal services, approximately 167 children and thirty staff of the nursery where she was registered would have to possibly be flanked.

Dr. Benoit Cottrelle, head of the sleep and health security to the ARS explained that the stock of antibiotics had been sent from the hospital to the chemists to treat the families. “Depending on the sprout, which will be identified by the laboratory, it may be necessary to vaccinate the close contacts of the child”. But the LRA wants to be reassuring, and believes the likelihood of another event by storm low. On average, meningitis cause of thirty deaths per year in France. A disease that mainly affects children under 5 years of age and adolescents.

How the meninges become infected ?

Our brain is fragile, like an egg. Our skull is a box. Put an egg in a box, shake it, it will break. If the human body was not as well done, this is what would happen to our brains : the lower stroke of the brake, it would come crashing against the bones of our forehead. This is not the case, thanks to the meninges and the cerebrospinal fluid.

The egg – our brain – is first of all surrounded very closely by a thin envelope that is similar to the “Scellofrais”, this plastic film used to protect food in the refrigerator. This is one of our three meninges : the pia mater. The whole “brain + pius-mother’ is then immersed in a liquid that looks like water, the cerebrospinal fluid. This liquid is protected by a second envelope that we could assimilate to the foil, that is, the arachnoid matter, our second feeling. Finally to stiffen the whole, it adds against the bone, a layer of hard plastic, the third feeling, the dura mater. In summary, our skull is the equivalent of a container of carbon-coated covered with silver paper, filled with water, in which is immersed an egg-covered “scellofrais”.

But if the envelopes are broken off or that the fluid gets dirty, the egg is in danger. This is exactly what happens when our brains are under attack by a virus or a bacterium. The cerebrospinal fluid becomes purulent, and it is just our nervous system that is in danger. To make the diagnosis and effectively treat the disease, there is only a single gesture : the lumbar puncture. There is a charge of between two and brainstorm, using a long needle, a little fluid. This procedure is done in the lower back, the meninges covering not only the brain, but also its extension, the spinal cord. No risk therefore, injury to a vital area.