The inflammation of the membranes or meninges covering the brain and spinal cord is called as the meningitis.
Infection may reach the meninges from infection in any other part of the body, such as pneumonia, ear discharge, a boil and so on.
Fortunately, the blood brain barrier is a strong one and the infection from other parts does not reach the meninges easily, except in very young children.
The child has fever, headache, vomiting and stiffness of the back and neck.
Alos there may be convulsions and unconsciousness. Meningitis is a serious disease and prompt treatment should be given, preferably in a hospital, as the investigations cannot be done at home.
One of the essential investigations is examination of fluid from the spinal canal. This procedure, called lumber puncture, is done by a needle in the lower region of the spine.
Despite adequate treatment, the child may be left with deafness, blindness, convulsions or even mental retardation. Meningitis can also be caused by tuberculosis and by viruses.