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Every year, World Meningitis Day (WMD) is observed worldwide on April 24. Sponsored by the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO), the campaign is a global platform dedicated to preventing meningitis worldwide by ensuring that people have access to early diagnosis, preventative measures and quick treatment. The 2019 annual one-day event aims to raise the global profile of meningitis and share important information with millions of people. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The swelling of the membranes typically triggers symptoms such as severe headache, sudden high fever and a stiff neck. Viral infections are one of the primary causes of meningitis. However, certain other bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections can also cause the same. Meningitis can affect anyone, but infants, young children, adolescents and older people are at the greatest risk. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks. However, others can be life-threatening and require emergency treatment which may possibly include options like antibiotics, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, oxygen therapy, fluids and sedatives. Treatment options for this condition depend on the type and severity of infection a person suffers from. Practicing good hygiene habits, staying healthy and administering correct immunizations are the preventative measures recommended. For correct clinical documentation of this condition, physicians can consider utilizing medical billing services.

Reports suggest that meningitis affects more than 2.8 million people all over the world each year. It is estimated that 1 in 5 bacterial meningitis survivors develop one or more after effects. Early meningitis symptoms may mimic the flu (influenza). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these symptoms can appear either suddenly or over a few days (normally about 3 to 7 days) after infection. Common symptoms include – sudden high fever, severe headache, confusion or difficulty concentrating, stiff neck, seizures, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light, sleepiness and skin rash. Risk factors that directly increase the chances of this condition include – age, skipping vaccination and compromised immune system.

The 2019 annual one-day campaign is observed to encourage the common people to understand the need for early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of meningitis infections. Diagnosis of this condition may generally begin with a detailed physical examination, evaluation of previous medical history and certain other diagnostic tests. As part of the diagnosis, physicians may check for signs of infection around the head, ears, throat and the skin along the spine. Imaging tests such as Computerized tomography (CT), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the head may be conducted to look for swelling or inflammation. Spinal tap (lumbar puncture) test will also be conducted to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and identify which bacterium caused the meningitis. In addition, blood cultures will be done as part of the diagnosis. Treatment for this condition depends on the type of infections and whether it is acute or chronic. Treatment options include – antibiotics, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, oxygen therapy, fluids and sedatives. The diagnosis tests and other treatment procedures performed by physicians must be carefully documented using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services provided by reputable medical billing companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their medical billing purposes.

ICD-10 codes for diagnosing meningitis include –

  • G00 – Bacterial meningitis, not elsewhere classified
    • G00.0 – Hemophilus meningitis
    • G00.1 – Pneumococcal meningitis
    • G00.2 – Streptococcal meningitis
    • G00.3 – Staphylococcal meningitis
    • G00.8 – Other bacterial meningitis
    • G00.9 – Bacterial meningitis, unspecified
  • G01 – Meningitis in bacterial diseases classified elsewhere
  • G02 – Meningitis in other infectious and parasitic diseases classified elsewhere
  • G03 – Meningitis due to other and unspecified causes
    • G03.0 – Nonpyogenic meningitis
    • G03.1- Chronic meningitis
    • G03.2 – Benign recurrent meningitis [Mollaret]
    • G03.8 – Meningitis due to other specified causes
    • G03.9 – Meningitis, unspecified

The theme for 2019 WMD is – “Life After Meningitis”, which shines a spotlight on the bravery of meningitis survivors and the challenges that they and their families face every day. It also focuses on the after effects of meningitis, whether that is bereavement after losing someone to meningitis or managing a wide range of consequences #AfterMeningitis.

Meningitis can strike in a matter of hours and the after effects can last a lifetime and may include – memory loss, deafness, loss of sight, epilepsy, paralysis, limb loss, organ damage, and brain damage. Therefore, awareness helps in early prevention, as knowing what symptoms to look for in advance leads to prompt treatment which reduces the likelihood of life-long disability and can save lives.

As part of the one-day campaign, a wide range of events and activities are organized worldwide on this day to spread public awareness about the importance of tracking the symptoms of meningitis early. These events include downloading the World Meningitis Day (WMD) logo (from the CoMO website), sharing infographics and testimonial tiles across several social media platforms and changing your Facebook and Twitter banner to show your support for WMD.

Join World Meningitis Day Campaign on April 24! Spread awareness about the different types of meningitis, its symptoms and treatment options.