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What is Meningitis?

Inflammation of the meninges, usually from a virus or other infection. Severity varies from a mild illness to one of grave outlook with headache, stiff neck, fever, weakness or paralysis of muscles, speech disturbances, double vision, epileptic fits and drowsiness that may progress to coma and death. Most patients recover fully, but some have residual nervous system damage.

A severe case of meningococcal meningitis in which the petechial rash progressed to gangrene and required amputation of all limbs. The patient survived the disease and became a poster child for a meningitis vaccination campaign in New Zealand.

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