Jeff Beck died abruptly from bacterial meningitis

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In summary: An uncle of mine nearly died from meningitis, but survived with profound loss of hearing.Meningitis can be a serious infection that can quickly lead to death. It can be caused by a variety of bacteria, and can be spread through droplets from the respiratory or throat secretions of carriers. Symptoms of meningitis can include a headache, fever, nausea or vomiting, brain fog, sensitivity to light, sleepiness or trouble waking, and a stiff neck. If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.
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berkeman
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We have a thread in the GD forum paying tribute to his amazing musical skills:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/rip-jeff-beck-78-virtuoso-rock-guitarist.1048983/

But I just saw the news that he died abruptly from a bacterial meningitis infection:

https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/12/health/bacterial-meningitis-explained-wellness/index.html

“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” the statement read. “After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

Unbelievable as it may be, death can occur within hours of contracting bacterial meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. The swelling is typically caused when an infection attacks the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. However, most people recover from the illness, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Those who do recover can have permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities,” the CDC noted on its website.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis

Symptoms of the illness can mimic the flu or Covid-19 and include a headache, fever, nausea or vomiting, brain fog, sensitivity to light, sleepiness or trouble waking, and a stiff neck.

“Meningitis can be acute, with a quick onset of symptoms, it can be chronic, lasting a month or more, or it can be mild or aseptic,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.

See a doctor immediately if you or a loved one have a sudden high fever, a severe headache that doesn’t ease, confusion, vomiting, or a painful, stiff neck with limited range of motion.

Meningitis is no joke, especially the bacterial version (versus the viral version). I was assessing a patient at a large community event a few years ago, and one of her complaints in addition to feeling generally sick was that she had a stiff neck. I asked her to slowly tilt her head forward, and immediately she yelled out "ow!". I put a spare N95 mask on her as quickly as I could and isolated her from the other waiting patients and medical staff until I could brief the senior nurse. I think that patient was an ambulance transport that day (although I don't remember if the nurse was able to do a differential diagnosis that lowered the probability of meningitis...).

Stay safe, folks!
 
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  • #2
berkeman said:
I put a spare N95 mask on her as quickly as I could and isolated her
Is meningitis transmissible?
I wouldn't think so as not everyone will acquire an infection of the the brain membrane and spinal cord.
 
  • #3
256bits said:
Is meningitis transmissible?
Yes for bacterial meningitis. Mainly through body fluids, coughing, etc. Which is why the immediate reaction to a stiff neck with the other symptoms is to put a mask on the patient.

https://www.who.int/health-topics/meningitis#tab=tab_1
Transmission

The bacteria that cause meningitis are transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers. Close and prolonged contact – such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters with an infected person, facilitates the spread of the disease. The average incubation period is 4 days but can range between 2 and 10 days.

Neisseria meningitidis only infects humans. The bacteria can be carried in the throat and can sometimes overwhelm the body's defences allowing infection to spread through the bloodstream to the brain. A significant proportion of the population (between 5 and 10%) carries Neisseria meningitidis in their throat at any given time.
 
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  • #4
256bits said:
Is meningitis transmissible?
I wouldn't think so as not everyone will acquire an infection of the the brain membrane and spinal cord.
berkeman said:
Yes for bacterial meningitis.
With respect to bacterial meningitis (inflammation of the meninges) can be caused by a variety of bacteria:
Several types of bacteria can cause meningitis. Leading causes in the United States include
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Group B Streptococcus
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Escherichia coli
https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html

Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord usually causes the swelling. However, injuries, cancer, certain drugs, and other types of infections also can cause meningitis.

A nephew of mine nearly died from meningitis, but survived with profound loss of hearing.

Viral meningitis has multiple causes as well:
Non-polio enteroviruses are the most common cause of viral meningitis in the United States. Only a small number of people infected with enteroviruses will develop meningitis. Other viruses that can cause meningitis are:
https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html

Monocleosis may also be caused by some of the same viruses. Infectious mononucleosis, also called “mono,” is a contagious disease. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the most common cause of infectious mononucleosis, but other viruses can also cause this disease. It is common among teenagers and young adults, especially college students. At least one out of four teenagers and young adults who get infected with EBV will develop infectious mononucleosis.
https://www.cdc.gov/epstein-barr/about-mono.html

Other infections that can cause infectious mononucleosis:
The impact/consequences of an infection depend on where the bacteria/virus attacks. Serious consequences occur if a bacteria/virus attacks in the blood (sepsis), brain or spinal cord (nerve damage or necrosis).
 
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  • #5
256bits said:
Is meningitis transmissible?
I wouldn't think so as not everyone will acquire an infection of the the brain membrane and spinal cord.
It's very much an issue of individual susceptibility - and bad luck.

Also, the meninges aren't _that_ well shielded from the environment as most ppl think. Especially in the olfactory tract, they're quite exposed, only a thin membrane separates them from the airways. So an infection acquired in the olfactory "nerve" (it actually is a part of the brain) can spread per continuitatem to the deeper cranial meninges.

But basically it's mostly tough luck, maybe with your immune system's genetic makeup: Other germs listed above can cause meningitis or encephalitis in some people, while many others only have a nuisance-grade infection. Like in CoVid-19... ...and especially measles: Most people only have those itchy skin issues, but some die from encephalitis...
 
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Godot_ said:
Especially in the olfactory tract
also the brain entry path brain eating amoebas use.
 
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I just learned that a distant relative, like a 5th cousin, died from meningococcal septicaemia in 1997 at age 18. She would be 43 now had she survived. I did not know the family, as I just learned from a recent contact through a genealogical site. I don't know which of several bacteria she had, just that she died from sepsis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neisseria_meningitidis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meningococcal_disease#Meningococcemia

Getting a rapid diagnosis and treatment is critical. The damage done to the blood vessels and organs can be permanently debilitating, some too often fatal.
 
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1. What is bacterial meningitis?

Bacterial meningitis is a serious infection that causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by certain types of bacteria and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

2. How does bacterial meningitis affect the body?

Bacterial meningitis can cause symptoms such as headache, fever, stiff neck, and sensitivity to light. In severe cases, it can lead to brain damage, hearing loss, and even death.

3. What are the risk factors for bacterial meningitis?

Some risk factors for bacterial meningitis include living in close quarters with someone who has the infection, having a weakened immune system, and not receiving recommended vaccinations.

4. How is bacterial meningitis treated?

Bacterial meningitis is typically treated with antibiotics, which can help fight the infection. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary for supportive care and monitoring.

5. Can bacterial meningitis be prevented?

Yes, there are several ways to prevent bacterial meningitis. These include getting vaccinated, practicing good hygiene, avoiding close contact with people who have the infection, and seeking medical treatment for any underlying conditions that may weaken the immune system.

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