What is bacterial meningitis? Everything you need to know about the bug after Jeff Beck’s death
Legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck died “peacefully” last night after contracting bacterial meningitis, it was revealed yesterday.
The 78-year-old, who just weeks ago wrapped up his US and European tour with actor Johnny Depp, has been so revered that his fingers and thumb have been insured for £7million.
A representative said Beck – an eight-time Grammy winner – was ill over the Christmas period and died at a hospital near his home in Surrey after suddenly contracting the infection.
Bacterial meningitis, which requires urgent hospital treatment, affects the membranes that affect the spinal cord and brain
Jeff Beck passed away peacefully last night at the age of 78. Pictured above, Beck at a garden party at Crystal Palace in London in 1972
His sudden death comes just weeks after the former Yardbirds star wrapped up a transatlantic tour with Johnny Depp while they were promoting their debut album 18.
British rockers like Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger led overnight tributes.
Bacterial meningitis, the requires urgent hospital treatment, affects the membranes affecting the spinal cord and brain.
The World Health Organization estimates that up to 1 in 10 cases of bacterial meningitis are fatal.
Experts say one of the reasons it is deadly is that it is difficult to detect early. Meningitis symptoms come on suddenly and get worse very quickly.
These may include headache, fever, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness.
Photophobia – sensitivity to light – and the development of a skin rash are other telltale signs of infection.
Caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream, when infected, the membranes swell and press on the spinal cord or brain.
This can lead to life-threatening problems.
But if treated If you are taken to the hospital promptly, you are less likely to die from bacterial meningitis.
It usually requires hospital treatment for at least a week, with antibiotics and fluids given directly into a vein, and oxygen via a face mask.
It is estimated that at least 1.2 million cases of bacterial meningitis occur worldwide each year.
Watchdog NICE estimates that acute bacterial meningitis affects one in 100,000 people in the UK.
About 2,600 cases are reported in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It can affect anyone of any age, but is more common in babies and young children because their immune systems are not fully developed.
Adolescents and young people are also at increased risk, especially in the first year of study, as they mix more and bacteria can therefore be transmitted more easily.
The infection can be spread through coughing, sneezing, and kissing, as it’s usually contracted by people who carry the bacteria in their throat or nose but aren’t sick themselves.
The majority of people with bacterial meningitis who are treated quickly also make a full recovery.
However, in some rarer cases, serious long-term problems can occur, including recurring seizures, vision or hearing loss, memory or concentration problems, or even limb amputations.
The eight-time Grammy winner has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – as a solo artist and as a member of The Yardbirds. Pictured Jeff Beck and guitarist Eric Clapton perform at the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, Illinois
Vaccines are the most effective protection against certain types of bacterial meningitis; there is no vaccine that protects against all types of meningitis.
These vaccines are offered to babies as young as eight weeks old, as well as to teenagers and college students.
Viral meningitis — which is far more common — is caused when viruses enter the bloodstream.
But it tends to be treated at home and will get better on its own within seven to 10 days.
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WHAT IS MENINGITIS?
Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
Anyone can be affected, but those at risk include those under five, 15 to 24, and over 45.
Individuals exposed to secondhand smoke or whose immune systems are compromised, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy, are also at greater risk.
The most common forms of meningitis are bacterial and viral.
Symptoms for both include:
- Pale, mottled skin with a rash that won’t fade when squeezed with a glass
- stiff neck
- Aversion to bright lights
- Fever and cold hands and feet
- Strong headache
Headache is one of the main symptoms
Bacterial meningitis requires urgent hospital treatment with antibiotics.
About 10 percent of bacterial cases are fatal.
Of those who survive, one in three will suffer complications, including brain damage and hearing loss.
Limb amputation is a possible side effect when septicemia (blood poisoning) occurs.
Vaccines are available against certain strains of bacteria that cause meningitis, such as tuberculosis.
Viral is rarely life-threatening but can cause long-lasting effects such as headaches, fatigue, and memory problems.
Thousands of people suffer from viral meningitis in the UK each year.
Treatment focuses on hydration, pain medication, and rest.
Although ineffective, antibiotics can be given when patients arrive at the hospital just in case they have the bacterial form of the disease.
Source: Meningitis Now
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