The bacterial meningitis mortality rate currently stands at 10%. This mortality rate occurs when the condition remains undiscovered and untreated. If the bacterial meningitis is discovered and treated, then most people are able to recover from this health issue.
For the other 90% that do survive, there are long-term health effects that may occur after the bacteria has been eliminated by the body. Seizures may occur throughout the rest of their life. Some people experience a mental impairment. Physical paralysis is even a possibility. For this reason, bacterial meningitis should also be treated as a very serious condition.
The problem? A severe case of bacterial meningitis can create life-threatening symptoms in just a few hours.
What Can Affect the Mortality Rate of Bacterial Meningitis
The chances of recovery from bacterial meningitis can be affected by a number of different variables. How fast the illness sets in is one of the most critical factors that influences the mortality rate. When a fast onset or a severe bacterial infection occurs that forms meningitis, the mortality rate can be as high as 90%. For those who survive, they have the greatest risk of suffering a lifelong health issue from this condition.
In undeveloped countries or very remote areas, the mortality rate of bacterial meningitis may be as high as 25%. This occurs because of a lack of healthcare resources, overall poor health before the illness, and a lack of rehabilitation facilities.
In the United States, there are fewer than 1,000 cases per year that are diagnosed. Between 2003-2007, bacterial meningitis is listed as the cause of death for about 500 people.
The Problem with Diagnosing Bacterial Meningitis
The bacteria that can cause bacterial meningitis are many. They include streptococcus, Neisseria meningitidis, pneumoniae, and even influenzae bacteria. These same bacteria are also known to cause a more common and equally life-threatening condition called “sepsis.”
Sepsis occurs when the body’s immune system creates an overwhelming response to a health threat that has been detected. Because there are so many white blood cells activated, the body can end up attacking itself in an effort to clear an infection. This can cause tissue damage or even organ failure.
When caught early, bacterial meningitis can be effectively treated. That way the mortality rate doesn’t have to be a statistic that continues to grow.