Meningitis is caused when the protective membranes surrounding a person’s spinal cord and brain become inflamed. It can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. It is important to know what caused a case of meningitis because it impacts how severe the illness may be and its treatment. Cases caused by a virus are generally less severe and resolve without specific treatment, while cases caused by bacteria can be quite severe; may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability; and may be treatable with antibiotics. For more information please visit the CDC webpage.
Meningitis in Wyoming
In Wyoming, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningiditis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.
When a case of meningitis is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningiditis it is known as meningococcal meningitis. Between 2005 and 2015 there were 21 cases of N. meningiditis in Wyoming. Here are a few details about the cases in Wyoming:
- Average age: 21 years
- Median Age: 20 years
- Age Range: 4 months to 86 years
- Two cases resulted in death
Below, we have a table of case counts per year by county and a map of total case counts by county for N. meningiditis in Wyoming, 2005-2015 (click to enlarge):
Vaccines are available for meningococcal meningitis. For more information please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/vaccine-info.html
The Wyoming Department of Health only tracks cases of S. pneumoniae that are considered invasive – this means that the bacteria was isolated from a sterile fluid in a person’s body (i.e. blood, joint fluid, etc.). Invasive cases of S. pneumoniae are also known as Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD). It is important to note that not every case of IPD results in meningitis. Between 2005 and 2015, there were 292 reported cases of IPD in Wyoming, and of these 21 had meningitis (7%).
A vaccine is available for IPD. For more information, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/.
For questions regarding bacterial meningitis in Wyoming, please contact Cody Loveland at 307-777-8634.