Meningitis | Symptoms, Causes, Types, Treatment, Risks & More


What is Meningitis?

The meninges are the area of inflammation that causes Meningitis. Meninges are three membranes that protect the spinal cord and the brain. Meningitis can develop when the meninges’ fluid becomes infected.

The most frequently cited causes of meningitis are viruses and bacteria-based infections. Other causes include:

  • Cancer
  • Chemical irritation
  • fungi
  • Drug allergies

Meningitis that is caused by bacteria or viruses can be transmitted. They can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or contact with someone close to them.

What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?

The symptoms of both viral and bacterial meningitis are similar at first. However, the symptoms of bacterial meningitis tend to be more than the viral ones. The symptoms can vary based on the age of the patient.

Viral meningitis symptoms

Infants with viral meningitis may be the cause of:

  • less appetite
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • Lethargy
  • The fever

In adults, viral meningitis may cause:

  • headaches
  • febrile
  • stiff neck
  • seizures
  • Sensitivity to the bright light
  • insomnia
  • Lethargy
  • nausea and vomiting
  • less appetite

Bacterial meningitis symptoms

Bacterial meningitis symptoms develop suddenly. These may include:

  • altered mental state
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • The sensitivity of the skin to light
  • irritability
  • headache
  • The fever
  • chills
  • stiff neck
  • Skin with purple spots that appear to be bruises
  • Sleepiness
  • Lethargy

Take immediate medical care If you notice these signs. Meningitis that is viral or bacterial is a serious condition. There is no way to tell whether you’ve got meningitise that is viral or bacterial simply by the way you feel. Your doctor should conduct tests to determine the kind you’re suffering from.

Fungal meningitis symptoms

Meningitis symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other forms of this disease. This includes:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • The sensitivity of the skin to light
  • febrile
  • headache
  • Disorientation or confusion

Meningitis of all kinds has distinct symptoms. Find out more about these symptoms so that you are aware of the distinctions between different types of meningitise.

Meningitis rash

One of the early indications that a bacterium responsible for meningitis Neisseria meningitidis, is presently found in the blood is a slight scratch on your skin. The meningococcal bacterium causes meningitise infection to multiply in your blood and then targets cells that surround the capillaries. The damage to these cells can lead to capillary damage as well as mild leaks of blood. It appears as a small red, pink or purple eruption. The spots can appear like tiny pinpricks and can be frequently mistaken for bruises.

As the infection grows worse and it spreads the rash will become more visible. The spots will become more pronounced and darker.

People with dark skin tone may not be able to discern the rash of meningitis. The skin’s lighter areas like fingers as well as in the area around the mouth could be prone to the rash faster.

Every rash is not identical. Take a look at pictures of meningitise rashes to know how the sign could manifest.

Meningitis types

Infections caused by bacteria and viruses are the most frequent causes of meningitis. There are many other types of meningitis. Some examples are cryptococcal, which is caused by a fungus, and carcinomatous, which is caused by cancer. They are not as common.

Meningitis viral

Meningitis caused by viral infection is the most frequent form of meningitis. In the category of Enterovirus, viruses are responsible for about 85 percent of cases. They are more prevalent in the fall and summer months and comprise:

  • coxsackievirus A
  • coxsackievirus B
  • Echoviruses

The Enterovirus category of viruses are responsible for between 10 and 15 million cases

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every year, but just a tiny proportion of those who contract the disease are likely to develop meningitise.

Meningitis can also be caused by other viruses. They include:

  • West Nile virus
  • influenza
  • Mumps
  • HIV
  • measles
  • herpes viruses
  • Coltivirus is the cause of Colorado tick fever.

Meningitis caused by viral infections usually disappears without treatment. However, certain cases require treatment.

Meningitis bacterial

Meningitis can be contagious and result from infection caused by specific bacteria. If left untreated, it can cause death. Between 5 and 40% of infants and 20- 50% of adults affected by this disease pass away. This is even after the best treatment.

The most commonly used kinds of bacteria that cause meningitis bacterial are:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae, usually located in the sinuses, respiratory tract, and nasal cavity. It can trigger what’s known as “pneumococcal meningitis”
  • Neisseria meningitidis is transmitted via saliva as well as other respiratory fluids. It is the cause of what’s known as “meningococcal meningitis”
  • Haemophilus flu, which is a virus that can cause meningitise as well as infection of the bloodstream as well as irritation of the air pipe cellulitis, and infective arthritis.
  • Listeria monocytogenes, also known as food-borne bacteria
  • Staphylococcus aureus, commonly found on the skin as well as inside the respiratory tract and can cause “staphylococcal meningitis”

Fungal meningitis

Meningitis caused by Fungal is a rare form of meningitise. The cause is a fungus that affects your body and expands into your bloodstream and eventually the spinal cord or brain.

The people who have a weaker immunity are at a higher risk to contract meningitis fungal. This is especially true for people suffering from the disease cancer as well as HIV.

The most commonly-used fungi that are linked to meningitis fungal are:

  • The Cryptococcus is inhaled through dirt or soil that has been affected by bird droppings
  • Blastomyces is another kind of fungus that is found in soil, especially in the Midwestern United States
  • Histoplasma is found in areas that are affected by bat and bird droppings, particularly within the Midwestern States near the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
  • Coccidioides can be present in soils in particular regions in the U.S. Southwest and South and Central America

Parasitic meningitis

Meningitis that is of this kind is not as common as meningitise caused by bacteria or viruses and is caused by parasites found in feces, dirt, and even on animals and foods, such as snails raw poultry, raw fish, or even in the produce.

One kind of meningitis that is parasitic is rarer than other types. It’s known as eosinophilic meningitis (EM). Three parasites are the main culprits for EM. This includes:

  • Angiostrongylus cantonensis
  • Baylisascaris procyonis
  • Gnathostoma spinigerum

The disease isn’t transmitted from one person to another. The parasites instead are transmitted to animals, or they hide in food items that humans eat. If the parasite’s or parasite’s eggs are infected when eaten, an infection might develop.

A rare form of meningitise that is parasitic, amebic meningitis, can be the most life-threatening kind of disease. The cause is when one of the various types of ameba invades your body through the nose as you are swimming in polluted lakes or rivers or ponds. The parasite could cause damage to the brain’s tissue and lead to seizures, hallucinations, and other serious signs. The most widely recognized type can be Naegleria fowleri.

Meningitis that is not infectious

Meningitis that isn’t infected is not a disease. It’s actually the type of meningitise due to other medical illnesses or treatments. They include:

  • lupus
  • A head injury
  • brain surgery
  • Cancer
  • Certain medications

What are the reasons for meningitis?

Every type of meningitis has an individual cause and each one acts similarly: A fungus, bacterium, or virus circulates through bloodstreams until it reaches the brain or the spinal cord. It then forms within the linings or fluids around these vital organs and then develops into a more severe illness.

Meningitis non-infectious is caused by a physical injury or some other issue and doesn’t result in an infection.

Are there any vaccines for meningitis?

Yes, there’s a vaccine available for various forms of meningitis bacterial. Meningococcal Meningitis, which is which is caused by Neisseria meningitidis, is a variant that has vaccines available. While viral meningitis is much more frequent, bacterial meningitis could be more harmful if not treated and diagnosed quickly.

This is why the two most effective vaccines for meningitise target the bacterial cause. The first, meningococcal conjugate vaccination, contains an antigen that targets 4 of the frequent kinds of bacteria serotypes. It is more durable and provides more protection, particularly in the event that you keep the booster shots.

Another vaccine called MenB has a focus on a specific strain and the protection period is shorter. Certain populations are only recommended to receive this vaccine.

The side effects of a meningitise vaccine are redness, soreness, and burning at the site of injection. Certain people might experience a mild fever for a day or two after the injection. Headaches chill joint pain, fatigue can also occur.

Who should be vaccinated against meningococcal m.e?

These five groups are deemed at risk and need to receive an anti-meningitis vaccination:

  • College freshmen living in dorms, but who haven’t yet been vaccine-free
  • adolescents between 11 and 12 years old
  • those who travel to countries in which meningococcal disease is prevalent
  • children aged 2 and older who do not have a spleen or suffer from a compromised immune system

Teenagers must be protected by getting a vaccine against meningitise. Find out when you should have your child immunized.

What is the treatment for meningitis?

The treatment you receive is dependent on the root of meningitise.

Bacterial meningitis requires immediate hospitalization. The early diagnosis and treatment can stop brain damage and even death. Meningitise caused by bacteria can be treated with intravenous antibiotics. There’s no particular antibiotic for meningitis bacterial. It is based on the type of bacteria that cause it.

Meningitis fungal is treated with antifungal medications.

Parasitic Meningitis could consist of treating only the symptoms or trying to treat the infection in a direct manner. The cause of the infection is dependent on the source the condition may be better without treatment with antibiotics. If it gets worse, however, the doctor might try to treat the cause of the infection.

Meningitis caused by a viral infection can resolve in its own time, however, certain factors that cause viral meningitise may be addressed with intravenous antiviral medication.

How infectious is meningitis?

Meningitis of various types is not infectious. Infectious, fungal, and non-infectious meningitise is not contagious.

Viral meningitis can be transmitted. It can be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids like mucus, saliva, and feces. Droplets of infected fluid may be passed around and be shared with coughing and sneezing. It is not necessary to be in the direct vicinity of the person who has contracted the infection to contract the infection.

Bacterial meningitis, which is the most serious type of meningitise can be transmitted, particularly when it’s meningococcal-related Meningitise. It can be spread through prolonged contact with an affected person. Daycare centers, schools barracks for military personnel, and hospitals, as well as dormitories at colleges, are ideal places to spread the infection. Certain types of meningitise can be transmitted via contact between people but not all.

Meningitis in infants

Meningitis in infants can exhibit different signs and symptoms of the infection than adults. The symptoms could include:

  • febrile
  • jaundice
  • Neck stiffness or body stiffness
  • High-pitched crying
  • uncontrollable behavior
  • It is difficult to get up and sleep.
  • Anxious and angry
  • isn’t feeling well and is weak in suck when nursing

Meningitis with a virus is very common among infants. It is the result of colds, sores caused by colds the flu, and diarrhea. The virus that causes these common diseases also causes viral meningitise.

Bacterial meningitis is quite common but can be life-threatening typically develops after acute infection in the nearby part of the human body. For instance, the bacteria from an acute sinus infection or ear infection could be absorbed into the bloodstream, and then find ways to reach the spinal cord or brain and trigger a more serious infection.

Meningitis in children

Meningitis gets more frequent among children as they get older and attain the age of college and high school. The symptoms of bacterial and viral meningitise in young children are like symptoms seen for adults. This includes:

  • sudden fever
  • neck and backaches
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue or tiredness

You might be wondering about whether your child is at risk of developing this disease. 

Meningitis in adults

The risk of developing various types of meningitis declines after adulthood. It’s due to the changing environment. College dormitories and schools are popular places where types of meningitise are easily spread. As a young adult grows away from these places the chance of contracting the infection decreases.

After the age of 60, however, the risk of developing cancer begins to increase. It’s due to the underlying disease or conditions that weaken the immune systems of older people.

People who have compromised immunity are at higher risk of developing it. In addition, those who live in areas where people are in close contact with each other are at a higher chance of contracting an infection. This is the case for teachers, healthcare professionals, daycare employees.

What is the diagnosis for meningitis?

Meningitis diagnosis begins with an examination of the medical history and physical examination. Age, dorm room, as well as time spent at the daycare center, are all important indicators. During your physical exam, the doctor will be looking for:

  • A fever
  • An increase in heart rate.
  • Neck stiffness
  • diminished consciousness

The doctor may also recommend a spinal puncture. The test is also known as the spinal tap. It lets your doctor check for the pressure that is increased in the nerve system of the central nervous system. It may also reveal infections or bacteria within the spinal fluid. It can also identify the most effective antibiotic to treat.

Other tests could be ordered to determine meningitise. The most commonly used tests are:

  • The blood cultures detect bacteria in the blood. Bacteria can move from into the brain through the blood. N. meningitidis as well as S. pneumonia along with others can trigger both meningitis and sepsis.
  • An accurate blood count and differential is an overall indicator of health. It determines the number of white and red blood cells that are present in your blood. The white blood cells are used to fight infections. They are usually found to be high during meningitise.
  • Chest X-rays can show the presence of tuberculosis, pneumonia as well as fungal infection. Meningitise is a possibility after pneumonia.
  • A CT exam of the brain could reveal problems such as an abscess in the brain or sinusitis. Bacteria can travel from sinuses to meninges.

The doctor can also conduct the glass test. To conduct this test, the doctor will apply pressure on the meningitise area. If the rash doesn’t disappear with pressure it’s most likely a meningitis rash. If it fades, the strange areas on the skin might be due to a different problem.

How can meningitis be prevented?

Being healthy in particular when you’re at risk, is crucial. This includes:

  • getting sufficient amounts of sleep
  • Smoking is not a good idea.
  • Stay clear of the contact of sick persons

If you’ve had close contact with any of the people with meningococcal bacterial infection The doctor will prescribe preemptive antibiotics. This can lower your chance of getting the illness.

Immunizations also safeguard against certain kinds of meningitise. The vaccines that prevent it are:

  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine
  • pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
  • meningococcal vaccine

A good routine of personal hygiene can aid in preventing meningitis. It can be contracted through contact with the infected’s body fluids, including the nasal and saliva. Avoid sharing food items, drinks, and personal items that could be carrying liquids such as saliva, or any other. Do these steps to reduce the risk of contracting it.

What are the effects of meningitis?

The most common cause of these complications is meningitis.

  • seizures
  • hearing loss
  • vision loss
  • Memory problems
  • arthritis
  • migraine headaches
  • brain damage
  • hydrocephalus
  • empyema of the subdural region, or an accumulation in the flow of blood between your skull and the brain

Meningitis infections can produce an abundance of bloodstream bacteria. The bacteria multiply, and some release poisons. This can lead to bleeding and damage to blood vessels. It can also cause leakage of blood through the organs and skin.

A serious type of blood infection could be life-threatening. Gangrene can damage the skin and tissues. In rare instances, it is possible to require amputation. Numerous other serious complications can occur among people with it.

Meningitis and pneumonia

Pneumococcal meningitis can be a very rare yet serious and life-threatening kind of it caused by bacteria. Even when treated 20 percent of those suffering from this kind of disease die.

Around 40 percent of the population carry a bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumoniae within their throats as well as the back of their nose. These are the bacteria that cause common diseases such as sinus infections, pneumonia, and ear infections.

At times the bacteria do manage to get through the blood-brain-skin barrier and cause inflammation and infection within the spinal cord, brain, or in the surrounding fluids around them.

The symptoms of this severe form are:

  • chills
  • high fever
  • vomiting
  • chest pain
  • headache
  • cough
  • confusion
  • weaknesses
  • Disorientation

Luckily two vaccines are on the market to protect against meningitis caused by pneumococcal.

What are the risk factors for developing meningitis?

Here are a few of the factors that increase the risk of contracting it:

Immune system compromise

People who suffer from an immune deficiency are more susceptible to infections. This includes infections that cause meningitis. Certain diseases and treatments may reduce your immune system. They include:

  • autoimmune disorders
  • chemotherapy
  • Organ or bone marrow transplants

Meningitise that is the result of a fungal infection is the most frequent type among people suffering from HIV.

Community living

Meningitis can easily be contracted when individuals live in close quarters. Living in smaller spaces increases the likelihood of exposure. The most common locations are:

  • college dormitories
  • barracks
  • boarding schools
  • daycare centers


Women who are pregnant have a higher likelihood of developing listeriosis. It is an illness caused by Listeria bacteria. The infection could be transmitted to the child who is not yet born.


Everyone is at risk. However, certain age groups are at greater risk. Children who are younger than five are at a higher chance of developing viral meningitis. Children are more at the chance of developing bacterial meningitise.

Working with animals

People who work on farms and are involved in the work of animals face an increased chance of being infected with Listeria.

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