Meningitis Attacks People with Genetic Disorders
Most people have meningococus bacterias which causes of meningitis (brain inflammation), but only one among 40,000 people who could experience a meningitis attack. People with genetic disorders are very prone to meningitis.
Meningococus bacteria are very easily transmitted through air. Meningitis can be caused by various organisms such as viruses, bacteria or fungi that spreads into the blood and migrate into the brain fluid.
If the body resistance is low, the bacteria will enter the body, blood and brain, causing meningitis disease. Infants and children are most susceptible to meningitis because their body resistance are not yet strong.
Besides a weak immune system, meningitis can develop in the body of someone who has a genetic variation associated with the immune system.
The genetic variation is revealed when researchers from Imperial College London (ICL) and the Genome Institute of Singapore studied 1,500 patients with meningitis from the UK, the Netherlands, Austria and Spain. As a control comparison, the researchers also studied 5,000 healthy people.
After comparing the genetic variation among 1.5 million participants, investigators found several specific markers in participants who experienced meningitis.
Someone who has the marker has no mechanism of resistance to meningococus bacterias, causing meningitis and septicaema.
“This distinguishing factor is why not everyone can be attacked by meningitis,” said Professor Michael Levin of the ILC, according to BBC.
According to Professor Levin, the marker was found in factor-H and protein which is related with factor-H. Under normal circumstances, this factor does not destroy bacteria but can be hijacked by meningococus to disguise themselves so they are not recognized by the immune system.
This finding is expected to help develop more effective vaccines to fight meningococus bacterias. According to Professor Levin, until now there is no vaccine for the latest variant of the bacteria that is type-B.
Typical clinical symptoms of meningitis such as high fever, seizures, decreased consciousness is marked with the reduction in response to stimuli.
Meningitis disease is a disease that attacks the lining of the brain with mortality rates reaching 50 percent. If someone escape from death, for example in toddler will experience symptoms of residual disease such as paralysis, deafness, epilepsy, mental retardation.