Meningitis can affect the immune system even after treatment

meningitis , a disease that affects the meninges, thin layers located between the skull and the brain, as well as presenting risks to life the patient can also leave sequelae in the body.

Among the forms of the disease, there are 2 most common: bacterial and viral, but all need emergency medical care and, if left untreated, endanger the lives of even those who accompany and assist the sick.

But researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), who observed the effects after meningitis treatment, found that the infection can affect the body’s defense system even after long periods of elimination of the infectious agent.

As a result, the body may lose the ability to recognize other infections and, consequently, not be able to fight them.

The immune system after illness

Immune system or defense system, basically, are the barriers that the body uses to contain invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, and to protect the organism.

In general, the immune system is very effective in recognizing invading agents, isolating and eliminating them, preventing the body from being affected by diseases.

But how can meningitis interfere in this process?

According to the study, published in Nature Immunology , the cells that protect the brain, when infected, are replaced by cells from other parts of the body.

And those who entered the place begin to have problems when dealing with new infections, being less efficient in recognizing and avoiding attacks, making the patient vulnerable to infections.

Read more: Vaccine for meningitis: the best way to prevent the disease

Meningeal macrophages

Up there, when we said that the organism used some weapons to contain the onset of infectious meningitis, it was exactly the meningeal macrophages that we are referring to.

They are immune cells located in the meninges (region where meningitis affects) and one of their functions is to identify pathogens (infectious agents) in the blood before they damage brain tissue.

So this is where the researchers got the results of the study. After the disease, these macrophages changed, part of which was lost permanently.

As a result, they were removed by immune cells and replaced by monocytes, which are blood defense cells.

Although they also have the function of protecting the organism, these relocated cells have limitations when it comes to recognizing some infections. As a result, the fight against agents is weakened.

Thus, it was observed that there may be more lasting damage from meningitis, even after the correct treatment and elimination of the virus.

Although meningitis has a cure, to achieve this it is important that treatment must be done quickly.

Therefore, studies in this area are important, the more you know about a disease, the safer treatments can become.