A 21-year-old woman, a TGV Bourg-Saint-Maurice-Paris passenger on Saturday evening, was evacuated in emergency for a serious meningeal syndrome. The train was stopped at Tonnerre station for evacuation. She was hospitalized urgently in intensive care at Auxerre hospital where her vital prognosis is engaged.
Saturday, January 6, around 23 hours, the young woman was aboard a TGV from Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Savoie, and to Paris. She complained of intense pain suggestive of meningitis with the appearance of a purpura. The train was stopped (unscheduled halt) in Tonnerre station to allow its emergency evacuation and hospitalization in intensive care at Auxerre hospital.
The diagnosis of meningitis was confirmed by the ARS (Regional Health Agency) Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Monday, January 8, 2018 which informs that "the vital prognosis of the young woman is engaged". It is a meningitis in the process of generalization, called "purpura fulminans", observed in the very serious forms of meningococcal meningitis.
Analyzes are in progress to specify the type of meningococcus. The girl's entourage was treated with preventive antibiotics, and wagon passengers who had direct, close and prolonged contact were called to receive the same treatment.
Meningitis remains endemic in France
Fulminant meningitis is usually linked to a bacterium, the meningococcus C. It has been abnormally virulent for about ten years according to the opinion of experts who have alerted the health authorities. The numbers have unfortunately come to prove them right. 800 cases, 200 deaths since 2011. Several recent weeks ... A disturbing and frustrating situation when we know that vaccination could make the disease disappear ... as in the Netherlands.
An infection of the brain envelopes
Meningitis is a fairly common inflammation of the meninges. It does not matter when it is due to a virus, which is the case in 80% of cases. It becomes serious if it is a bacterium and deadly if it is a fulminant form if the care does not intervene quickly.
In normal forms, it is painful and very painful to bear, there is not really a specific treatment of viral forms and healing is the rule. It's a different story with a bacterium: the cerebrospinal fluid becomes purulent and the entire nervous system is in danger. This is an extreme emergency which fortunately, if the diagnosis is made in time, can benefit from the spectacular effect of antibiotics.
Diagnosis by lumbar puncture
To make the diagnosis, to treat effectively, a single gesture: the lumbar puncture. With a long needle, one will take between two meninges a little liquid. It is done in the lower back, because the meninges cover not only the brain but also its extension, the spinal cord. Hence this levy between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebra, where the meninges end, where we can take without risk of injuring a vital area.
Meningitis does not affect only children.
There are approximately 8000 cases of meningitis per year in France, of which nearly 2000 are serious cases. If we insist on children it is because each year, some 500 to 800 people are affected by meningococcal meningitis, the most serious form. Most are infants or young children. One in ten dies and 6% of "survivors" have significant sequels.
Vaccination is effective
At a time when many French are looking for arguments to convince themselves of the importance of vaccination, beyond this terrible statistic, we must meditate another. In France, vaccination coverage for this virus is 71%. It may seem like a lot ... but it is very insufficient to eradicate meningococcus. According to Public Health France: "In the Netherlands, vaccination coverage against meningococcus C reached 94%, and the disease has now disappeared. !"
Hence the importance of making vaccination mandatory. And put some decency in the invectives of some at the time when two young men have just been a victim of meningitis in Dijon and Roye, witnesses of the presence of the bacteria throughout France.
Moreover it is by vaccinating that we will make the disease disappear. In France, meningitis causes about thirty deaths a year.