Bacterial meningitis historical perspective
Bacterial meningitis Microchapters
The major advancements in the history of bacterial meningitis started in the 16th century by description of an epidemic of meningitis by Thomas Willis. Later on, Robert Whytt and John Cheyne described the stages of tuberculous meningitis in the 17th century. In the 18th and 19th century, major advancements were made regarding CSF analysis and lumbar puncture technique. In the late nineteenth century, causative organisms for bacterial meningitis was identified which includes Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae. The use of antibiotics such as penicillins was in use since 20th century for the treatment of bacterial meningitis.
The major advancements in the history of bacterial meningitis may be summarized as follows:
- Meningitis may have been described in the Middle Ages, but it was first accurately identified by the Swiss Vieusseux (a scientific-literary association) during an outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland in 1805.
- In 1661, Thomas Willis first described the inflammation of meninges and an epidemic of meningitis.
- In the 17th century, Robert Whytt provided a detailed explanation of tuberculous meningitis and its stages. This was further elaborated by John Cheyne in the same century.
- Meningococcal meningitis was than described by Gaspard Vieusseux, Andre Matthey in Geneva and Elisa North in Massachussetes
- In 1891, Heinrich Quincke provided an early analysis of CSF by introducing a new technique of lumbar puncture.
- In early 19th century, detailed profile of CSF analysis in meningitis was explained by William Mestrezat, and H. Houston Merritt.
- In the late nineteenth century, causative organisms for bacterial meningitis was identified which includes Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae
- Advancements regarding the treatment of bacterial meningitis was given by Georg Joachmann in Germany and Simon Flexnor in USA in 18th and 19th century respectively
- Francois Schwentker introduced the use of sulfonamides for the treatment of meningitis in the 20th century
- Penicillin use was introduced by Chester Keefer in the 20th century
- In the 20th century, another remarkable achievement was attained by introduction of vaccine agianst N. meningitidis and H. Influenza