A 13-year-old girl passed away last December 31 at the University Hospital of Amiens, in the Somme, just hours after being admitted urgently. His relatives were treated as a preventive measure. This is the third case of fulminant form of meningitis this winter in France.
A young 13-year-old schoolgirl died of a meningitis lightning only hours after being admitted in emergency to the University Hospital of Amiens (Somme), according to our colleague from France 3 Hauts-de-France. After an investigation by the LRA into people who might have been in contact with the girl, antibiotics were prescribed to them as a preventive measure because they could have been contaminated by splashes of saliva that normally occur during a conversation.
The type of meningitis has not yet been identified but, because of the thundering nature of meningitis infection, it is most likely a fulminant form of acute meningococcal meningitis C. If this is confirmed, vaccination of the family circle, and contacts less close, will be realized. It is effective against most serotypes (A, C, Y or W) of meningococcal C.
Meningitis is not a rare disease
Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain's envelopes, the meninges. It does not matter when it is due to a virus, but becomes so if it is a bacterium and deadly if not treated quickly.
There are approximately 8000 cases of meningitis a year in France (adults and children) of which nearly 2000 are serious forms. Every year, some 500 to 800 people are affected by meningococcal meningitis, the most serious form. Most are infants or young children. One in ten die and 6% of those who survive there have significant sequels. Meningococcal C has been abnormally virulent for about ten years according to specialists.
In adults, meningitis most often results in an association of signs called "meningeal syndrome" with violent headache ("headache"), stiffness of the neck, high fever, intolerance to light. ("Photophobia") and nausea or vomiting.
Somnolence, mental confusion or even disturbances of consciousness may also appear, as well as localized neurological signs (ocular paralysis) and convulsions.
A fulminant form
The form that led to death is probably a fulminant form of acute meningococcal meningitis. Some meningococcal meningitis can very quickly translate into signs of generalized infection ("acute meningococcemia") with sepsis. This is the case when there appears a "purpura fulminans" very serious and very rapid evolution, with hemorrhagic lesions of the skin.
In case of appearance anywhere on the skin haemorrhagic spots (bright red stained spots) or bruises (or "bruises"), do not disappear at the finger pressure, it may be a purpura that must call for help in extreme urgency.
Meningococcus is a very fragile germ that does not survive in the environment but is transmitted by saliva.
Most meningitis is contracted under normal living conditions, unrelated to a hospitalization or medical procedure.
Living in a closed community, and especially being in contact with a person with meningitis, are factors contributing to the onset of the disease.
At a time when many parents are confused by the mandatory nature of vaccination, we must understand that vaccine coverage for this virus is 71% in France, which is not enough to avoid these dramas. In the Netherlands, vaccination coverage against meningococcus C reached 94%, and the disease has now disappeared.