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Neisseria Meningitidis

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Neisseria Meningitidis Neisseria Meningitidis is a bacteria that is best known for its role in endemic bacterial meningitis (Bingen, 2008). N. Meningitidis is described as gram negative diplococci. Neisseria Meningitidis is non-motile and is transferred among people via direct contact with bodily fluids in which the bacteria has inhabited (Bingen, 2008). N. Meningitidis is classified among the prokaryotes and is a member of the kingdom bacteria because it is unicellular and small as most bacteria (Bingen, 2008). N. Meningitidis can be detected by doing a spinal tap to extract some cerebrospinal fluid from an individual’s spine (Bingen, 2008). If the spinal fluid appears to be cloudy it is most likely infected with bacterial meningitis and is cloudy because it has been placed under increased pressure (Bingen, 2008). The white blood cell count and protein concentration of the CSF will also be elevated if Neisseria Meningitidis is present (Bingen, 2008). N. Meningitidis resides in the nose and throat of humans (Bingen, 2008). It can be found in about 2-8% of humans that are carriers of the bacteria in a normal setting (Bingen, 2008). The bacteria are found in much higher percentages in areas where many people are living together (Bingen, 2008). N. Meningitidis cannot grow in temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius. These bacteria can only grow where fatty acids and trace metals are also present. The nose and throat of humans is perfect because of the warm temperatures in both of these areas. N. Meningitidis can be the cause of three major diseases. These are nasopharyngitis, meningococcal septicemia, and meningococcal meningitis. The most common disease caused by neisseria meningitides is meningococcal meningitis or more commonly known as bacterial meningitis and is therefore responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality in both the developed and the developing world (Bacteria Genomes-Neisseria Meningitidis, 2011). Group A is responsible for meningitis outbreaks in Sub-Saharan Africa, while group B is responsible for meningitis in the United States and Europe (Bacteria Genomes-Neisseria Meningitidis, 2011). The process in which N. Meningitidis reproduces is binary fussion. Binary Fussion is one of the most common ways for bacterial cells to reproduce. N. Meningitidis is heterotrophic meaning it survives off the organism in which it lives. Since it also causes disease because of its location in humans it is called a heterotrophic parasite. The bacteria get its nutrients from the mucous membrane in which it lives and also from the blood of humans in the cases where it invades the circulatory system. Neisseria Meningitis is a disease that infects the spinal fluid and/or the fluid in and around the outer coverings of the brain (Mckinney, 2011). This disease is extremely contagious and can be fatal if left untreated (Mckinney, 2011). Anyone experiencing some or all of the symptoms of meningitis should seek immediate medical attention (Mckinney, 2011). Infection is spread through direct contact with nasal or oral fluid contaminated with the bacteria. Inhalation of large droplet nuclei can also result in the spread of N. meningitides. N. meningitides induced infections are most common and most serious in children, young adults and the elderly. In newborns and very young children, antibodies are transferred from the mother to the child via gestation and lactation. Soon after this contact between mother and child severed, bactericidal activity decreases since the passive transfer of maternal antibodies no long occurs. Lipooligosaccharide is a component of the outer membrane of N. Meningitidis which acts as an endotoxin which is responsible for fever, septic shock, and hemorrhage due to the destruction of red blood cells. Other virulence factors include polysaccharide capsule which prevents host phagocytosis and aids in evasion of the host immune response; and fimbriae which mediate attachment of the bacterium to the epithelial cells of the nasopharynx.

Attia, J., Hatala, R., & Cook, D. a. (1999). The rational clinical examination. Does this adult patient have acute Meningitis? JAMA , 282 (2), 175-81.
Bacteria Genomes-Neisseria Meningitidis. (2011). Retrieved October 25, 2011, from
Bacterial Meningitis: Neisseria Meningitidis. (1999). Retrieved September 10, 2011, from BIO 160 development of vaccines to infectious disease:
Bingen, S. (2008, April). Neisseria Meningitidis. Retrieved October 25, 2011, from
Mckinney, E. (2011). Neisseria Meningitis Symptoms. Retrieved October 25, 2011, from ehow Health:
Meningitis. (2010, May 12). Retrieved September 11, 2011, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Neisseria Meningitidis. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2011, from Department of Publich Health:
Quagliarello, V., & Scheld, V. (1997). Treatment of bacterial meningitis. 336 (10), 708-716.
Reit, R., & Smith, M. D. (n.d.). A longitudinal study of Neisseria Meningitidis carries in submarine crews. U.S. Nav. Submar. Med. Cent. Rep , 532.

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