Guitarist Jeff Beck, 78, dies 'suddenly' of bacterial meningitis - who's at risk?

Guitarist Jeff Beck, 78, dies ‘suddenly’ of bacterial meningitis – who’s at risk?

Jeff Beck died of bacterial meningitis at the age of 78. (Photo by Lionel FLUSIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult a qualified physician before starting any physical activity or changing your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Jeff Beck, one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time, has died aged 78 after contracting bacterial meningitis.

Just weeks ago, the British musician completed a European and US tour with actor Johnny Depp.

Beck rose to fame as part of the Yardbirds, replacing Eric Clapton, and then formed the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart.

This blues-rock innovator was known for redefining guitar music in the 1960s, pushing the boundaries of blues, jazz and rock’n’roll.

The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s death was confirmed on his official Twitter page on Wednesday.

“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” the statement said. he said.

“After contracting bacterial meningitis suddenly, he passed away peacefully yesterday. His family are asking for privacy while they process this huge loss.”

The rep went on to add that the eight-time Grammy winner had been ill over the holidays and died at a hospital near Surrey after unexpectedly contracting an infection.

So what is bacterial meningitis and what are the signs and symptoms? Read on to learn everything you need to know about the condition that tragically took the guitar virtuoso’s life.

What is bacterial meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord membranes, typically caused by infection, bacteria or sometimes fungi.

According to the Meningitis Foundation Canada, untreated bacterial meningitis is a “medical emergency” and can be “fatal within hours.” Those who recover may have permanent disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss and learning disabilities.

The condition is usually spread through close contact with bacteria or viruses, such as cold or flu germs. Sneezing, coughing, kissing and close physical contact can spread germs. Because it is difficult to stop the transmission of bacteria, prevention is essential.

Bacterial meningitis is diagnosed by a doctor after analyzing a sample of spinal fluid from the patient.

This condition can often be mistaken for another life-threatening illness, sepsis, which is the body’s extreme response to infection. Sepsis occurs when an infection sets off a chain reaction throughout the body. Without prompt treatment, sepsis can quickly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

Bacterial infection of the brain.  Conceptual computer illustration showing Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, one of the main causes of bacterial meningitis and meningoencephalitis, infecting brain cells.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane around the brain and spinal cord. (Photo via Getty Images)

What are the signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis?

That the timing of symptoms of bacterial meningitis can vary widely. Some people may become ill within hours of being sick, while others may take one to three days to develop symptoms.

Typical early symptoms that appear within the first six hours include fever, headache, irritability, nausea and vomiting.

Later symptoms occurring within six to 12 hours include fever, muscle aches, leg pain, and pale skin.

After 12 hours, symptoms usually include cold hands and feet, stiff neck or throat pain, rash, confusion or delirium, and decreased responsiveness.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

A young woman takes her temperature.

Early symptoms of bacterial meningitis include fever, headache, irritability, nausea, and vomiting. (Photo via Getty Images)

Who is at risk for bacterial meningitis?

Certain risk factors can increase the risk of developing bacterial meningitis. Risk factors include:

  • Age: Infants or young children are more likely to get bacterial meningitis because of a weakened immune system. This means that people of any age can develop this condition.

  • Group settings: Meningitis tends to spread where large groups of people gather or live in close proximity, such as college dormitories or music festivals.

  • Some medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, medications, or surgical procedures put people at increased risk of contracting bacterial meningitis. For example, having an HIV infection or not having a spleen can increase the risk of the disease.

Immunization.  Protecting children from diseases.  Close-up of a nurse in medical gloves giving an injection to a small patient.  A brave boy gets the flu in the doctor's office and looks at the needle

Vaccination can help prevent bacterial meningitis. (Photo via Getty Images)

Can I prevent bacterial meningitis?

There are many ways to help prevent bacterial meningitis.

First, different vaccines can help protect against certain types of bacterial meningitis. There are vaccines against four types of bacteria that can cause this condition.

In addition, maintaining good health, washing hands frequently, staying home when you are sick, and having a strong immune system can protect us from most causes. We often carry the germs of meningitis without harmful effects.

However, if your immune system is compromised due to cancer treatment, HIV, organ transplants, infection, or other serious health problems, talk to your doctor about how to protect yourself from meningitis.

Last but not least, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as symptoms appear. Additionally, because the condition is contagious, if you’ve been around someone who has it, call your healthcare provider to discuss how to avoid getting the disease.

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