Neisseria meningitides is a Gram-negative dipplococcus. It is a facultative anaerobe and is non-motile. The bacteria can live in a commensal relationship with the mucous membranes in the human nose (Peterson, n.d.). When grown in a colony (on a chocolate agar plate or a blood agar plate) it has a clearly defined edge, is round, smooth, moist and convex. As for color it is gray or colorless and opaque (CDC, n.d.). Metabolically, Neisseria meningitides is fastidious (like all pathogenic bacteria) and ferments glucose ideally though is it capable of fermenting lactose (Peterson, n.d.). Since this disease has such a high mortality rate and a very quick onset it clearly has many virulence factors. These factors include the presence of pili, and an antiphagocytic capsule. It also has IgA protease (to inactivate antibodies) and endotoxins (that damage white blood cells and vessels) (Peterson, n.d.).
Meningococcal disease primarily affects the infants, children, and young adults. Sex does not seem to have a determining role in susceptibility, nor does ethnic group. Environment or living conditions play a much bigger role in the prevalence of this disease. The disease is seen more often in lower socioeconomic groups and in overcrowding situations – much like other infectious diseases. This is also why young adults in college dormitories are at risk (Driver, 2013). Meningococcal disease was first seen in 1805 in Geneva, and then in 1806 in Massachusetts. It was recorded in Africa in the early 20th century, and large epidemics still occur there in area called the meningitis belt (WHO, n.d.).
Meningococcal disease is spr...
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...135. Vaccines specific to epidemic strains help control group B outbreaks (WHO, n.d.).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.). Chapter 7: identification and characterization of Neisseria meningitides. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/lab-manual/chpt07-id-characterization-nm.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.). Meningococcal disease. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/
Driver, C. (2013). Meningococcal disease: diagnosis and prevention. Primary Health Care, 23(2), 32-37.
World Health Organization (n.d). Meningococcal disease. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/csr/disease/meningococcal/en/
Peterson, K. (n.d.). Meningococcal meningitis. Retrieved from http://www.austincc.edu/microbio/2704w/nm.htm
Wilcox, A. (2011). Meningococcal B disease: past, present and future. Practice Nursing, 22(12), 650-653.
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