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Can you have meningitis and not know: Viral Meningitis – Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders

Viral Meningitis – Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders


John E. Greenlee

, MD, University of Utah Health

Reviewed/Revised Nov 2022



Topic Resources

Viral meningitis is inflammation of the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and of the fluid-filled space between the meninges (subarachnoid space) when it is caused by viruses.

  • Viral meningitis usually begins with symptoms of a viral infection such as fever, a general feeling of illness, headache, and muscle aches.

  • Later, people develop a headache and a stiff neck that makes lowering the chin to the chest difficult or impossible.

  • Doctors suspect viral meningitis based on symptoms and do a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) to confirm the diagnosis.

  • If people appear very ill, they are treated for bacterial meningitis until that diagnosis is ruled out.

  • If the cause is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or a herpesvirus, drugs effective against those viruses are used.

  • For other viruses, no effective drugs are available, but most people recover on their own within weeks.

(See also Introduction to Meningitis Introduction to Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and of the fluid-filled space between the meninges (subarachnoid space). Meningitis can be… read more .)

The brain and spinal cord are covered by three layers of tissue called meninges. The subarachnoid space is located between the middle layer and the inner layer of the meninges, which cover the brain and spinal cord. It contains the cerebrospinal fluid, which flows through the meninges, fills the spaces within the brain, and helps cushion the brain and spinal cord.

Viral meningitis is the most common cause of aseptic meningitis. Aseptic meningitis refers to meningitis that is caused by anything other than the bacteria that typically cause meningitis. Thus, aseptic meningitis can include meningitis caused by drugs, disorders that are not infections, or other organisms (such as the bacteria that cause Lyme disease Lyme Disease Lyme disease is a tick-transmitted infection caused by Borrelia species, primarily by Borrelia burgdorferi and sometimes by Borrelia mayonii in the United States. These… read more or syphilis Tertiary (third, or late) syphilis ).

Tissues Covering the Brain

Within the skull, the brain is covered by three layers of tissue called the meninges.

The most common cause of viral meningitis is

  • Enteroviruses Overview of Enterovirus Infections Enterovirus infections affect many parts of the body and may be caused by any of several different strains of enterovirus. Enterovirus infections are caused by many different viruses. Symptoms… read more , such as echovirus and coxsackievirus

Enteroviruses tend to reside in the digestive tract. Infections are very contagious.

Other common causes include

  • Herpes simplex virus Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Infections Herpes simplex virus infection causes recurring episodes of small, painful, fluid-filled blisters on the skin, mouth, lips (cold sores), eyes, or genitals. This very contagious viral infection… read more (HSV), usually type 2 (HSV-2)

  • Varicella-zoster virus

  • Viruses spread by mosquitoes (called arboviruses Epidemic encephalitis ), such as West Nile virus West Nile Virus Infection West Nile virus infection is a viral disease spread primarily from mosquitoes to people. Most people have mild or no symptoms, but some people develop a severe infection that affects the central… read more , St. Louis encephalitis virus, and California encephalitis virus

  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus

  • Human immunodeficiency virus Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a viral infection that progressively destroys certain white blood cells and is treated with antiretroviral medications. If untreated, it can cause… read more (HIV)

HSV-2 causes genital herpes Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Infections Herpes simplex virus infection causes recurring episodes of small, painful, fluid-filled blisters on the skin, mouth, lips (cold sores), eyes, or genitals. This very contagious viral infection… read more , a sexually transmitted infection that causes painful blisters in the genital area. HSV-2 can also cause symptoms of meningitis. HSV-2 meningitis usually occurs when the virus first infects the body. Genital and meningitis symptoms can occur at the same time. Symptoms of meningitis may appear before the genital symptoms, and some people have meningitis but do not have any genital symptoms. After symptoms disappear, HSV-2 remains in the body in a nonactive (dormant) state. That is, it does not cause symptoms. However, it can become active again (reactivate) periodically and cause symptoms. Thus, meningitis due to HSV-2 Viruses Recurrent meningitis is meningitis that occurs more than once. Meningitis is inflammation of the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and of the fluid-filled space… read more can recur.

The varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox Chickenpox Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection with the varicella-zoster virus that causes a characteristic itchy rash, consisting of small, raised, blistered, or crusted spots. Chickenpox… read more . Like HSV-2, the varicella-zoster virus remains in the body in a nonactive state. The virus may never cause symptoms again, or it may reactivate many years later. When it reactivates, it causes shingles Shingles Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by a viral infection that results from reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. What causes the virus to reactive… read more (herpes zoster) and may cause meningitis. Unlike HSV infections, which can recur many times, shingles usually occurs only once in a person’s lifetime. However, people with a weakened immune system Overview of Immunodeficiency Disorders Immunodeficiency disorders involve malfunction of the immune system, resulting in infections that develop and recur more frequently, are more severe, and last longer than usual. Immunodeficiency… read more (such as people with HIV infection) may have shingles more than once.

Zika virus Zika Virus Infection Zika virus infection is a mosquito-borne viral infection that typically causes no symptoms but can cause fever, rash, joint pain, or infection of the membrane that covers the white of the eye. .. read more and Chikungunya virus Arboviruses sometimes cause meningitis. Both viruses were once present in only a few parts of the world but now have spread.

Occasionally, meningitis develops in people with COVID-19 COVID-19 COVID-19 is an acute respiratory illness that can be severe and is caused by the coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms of COVID-19 vary significantly. Two types of tests can be used to diagnose… read more . Rarely, this meningitis is caused by simultaneous infection with another virus (such as varicella-zoster virus).

Viral meningitis can be spread in several ways, depending on the virus:

  • Spread through the bloodstream from an infection in another part of the body (the most common way)

  • Contact with contaminated stool, which may occur when infected people do not wash their hands after a bowel movement or when they swim in a public swimming pool (for enteroviruses)

  • Sexual intercourse or other genital contact with an infected person (for HSV-2 and HIV)

  • A bite of an insect, such as a mosquito (for West Nile virus, St. Louis virus, Zika virus, or Chikungunya virus)

  • Spread through the air by inhaling the virus (for varicella-zoster virus)

  • Contact with dust or food contaminated by the urine or stool of infected mice or pet hamsters (for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus)

  • Use of infected needles to inject drugs (for HIV)

Because of the way they are spread, some viruses (such as those spread by mosquitoes) cause meningitis only during certain seasons.

Viral meningitis usually begins with symptoms of a viral infection, such as fever, a general feeling of illness (malaise), cough, muscle aches, vomiting, loss of appetite, and headache. However, occasionally, people have no symptoms at first.

Later, people have symptoms that suggest meningitis. That is, they typically have fever, headache, and a stiff neck. Trying to lower the chin to the chest causes pain and may be impossible. Moving the head in other directions is not as difficult.

Symptoms may resemble those of bacterial meningitis but are usually less severe and develop and progress more slowly.

  • Spinal tap and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid

  • Sometimes culture and testing of blood, other body fluids, or stool

Doctors suspect meningitis when people have a headache, fever, and stiff neck. They then try to determine whether meningitis is present and whether it is caused by bacteria (requiring immediate treatment) or a virus. Viral meningitis is more likely when the symptoms are less severe.

A spinal tap Spinal Tap Diagnostic procedures may be needed to confirm a diagnosis suggested by the medical history and neurologic examination. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a simple, painless procedure in which… read more (lumbar puncture) is done to obtain a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. However, if doctors suspect that pressure within the skull is increased, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be done first to check for causes of the increased pressure (such as a tumor or another mass in the brain). Doing a spinal tap when pressure within the skull is increased may cause a life-threatening disorder called brain herniation Herniation: The Brain Under Pressure . After pressure within the skull is lowered or if no mass is detected, the spinal tap is done.

The sample of cerebrospinal fluid is sent to a laboratory to be examined and analyzed. Sugar and protein levels and the number and type of white blood cells in the fluid are determined. The fluid is cultured to check for bacteria and thus rule out or confirm bacterial meningitis. The fluid is not usually cultured for viruses because doing so is technically difficult.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, which produces many copies of a gene, is used to identify enteroviruses, herpesviruses (such as HSV and varicella-zoster virus), and some other viruses. Doctors also test cerebrospinal fluid for the presence of antibodies to certain viruses. For example, detecting antibodies to West Nile virus in cerebrospinal fluid indicates infection with that virus.

Doctors sometimes also take a sample of blood, nasal or throat secretions, or stool for culture, examination, and/or, if available, PCR testing. HIV can be diagnosed based on the results of antibody tests and PCR. Levels of antibodies to other viruses are measured and sometimes remeasured a few weeks later. An increase in the level of antibodies to a particular virus indicates that the virus caused a recent infection and so probably was the cause of recent meningitis.

Most people who have viral meningitis recover within a few weeks. Occasionally, recovery can take months, as sometimes occurs when meningitis is caused by West Nile virus or lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.

  • Acyclovir (an antiviral drug) for herpes simplex virus (HSV) or varicella-zoster infection

  • Antiretroviral drugs for HIV infection

  • Treatment of symptoms

If people appear very ill, doctors start treatment right away without waiting for test results to identify the cause. These people are given antibiotics until doctors are sure that they do not have bacterial meningitis Acute Bacterial Meningitis Acute bacterial meningitis is rapidly developing inflammation of the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and of the fluid-filled space between the meninges (subarachnoid… read more , which, if untreated, can rapidly cause permanent brain or nerve damage or death. They are also given acyclovir (an antiviral drug) in case the meningitis is due to HSV or varicella-zoster infection.

After the cause is identified, doctors change drugs as needed.

HIV infection is treated with antiretroviral drugs Antiretroviral Treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection Antiretroviral medications used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection aim to do the following: Reduce the amount of HIV RNA (viral load) in the blood to an undetectable amount… read more . These drugs prevent HIV (a retrovirus) from reproducing and multiplying inside human cells. Almost always, people need to take a combination of several antiretroviral drugs. People must take these drugs for the rest of their life.

If the cause is HSV or varicella-zoster infection, acyclovir is continued.

For most of the other viruses that commonly cause meningitis, there are no effective drugs. However, if people have a normal immune system, they almost always recover from these infections on their own.

Symptoms are also treated. For example, acetaminophen, taken by mouth or suppository (inserted into the rectum), can reduce fever. Pain relievers (analgesics), taken as needed, can help control headache.

Generic NameSelect Brand Names


SITAVIG, Zovirax, Zovirax Cream, Zovirax Ointment, Zovirax Powder, Zovirax Suspension


7T Gummy ES, Acephen, Aceta, Actamin, Adult Pain Relief, Anacin Aspirin Free, Apra, Children’s Acetaminophen, Children’s Pain & Fever , Comtrex Sore Throat Relief, ED-APAP, ElixSure Fever/Pain, Feverall, Genapap, Genebs, Goody’s Back & Body Pain, Infantaire, Infants’ Acetaminophen, LIQUID PAIN RELIEF, Little Fevers, Little Remedies Infant Fever + Pain Reliever, Mapap, Mapap Arthritis Pain, Mapap Infants, Mapap Junior, M-PAP, Nortemp, Ofirmev, Pain & Fever , Pain and Fever , PAIN RELIEF , PAIN RELIEF Extra Strength, Panadol, PediaCare Children’s Fever Reducer/Pain Reliever, PediaCare Children’s Smooth Metls Fever Reducer/Pain Reliever, PediaCare Infant’s Fever Reducer/Pain Reliever, Pediaphen, PHARBETOL, Plus PHARMA, Q-Pap, Q-Pap Extra Strength, Silapap, Triaminic Fever Reducer and Pain Reliever, Triaminic Infant Fever Reducer and Pain Reliever, Tylenol, Tylenol 8 Hour, Tylenol 8 Hour Arthritis Pain, Tylenol 8 Hour Muscle Aches & Pain, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Children’s, Tylenol Children’s Pain+Fever, Tylenol CrushableTablet, Tylenol Extra Strength, Tylenol Infants’, Tylenol Infants Pain + Fever, Tylenol Junior Strength, Tylenol Pain + Fever, Tylenol Regular Strength, Tylenol Sore Throat, XS No Aspirin, XS Pain Reliever


This is the Consumer Version.




Copyright © 2023 Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA and its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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Meningitis – Symptoms – NHS

Symptoms of meningitis can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all. In the early stages, there may not be a rash, or the rash may fade when pressure is applied.

You should get medical help immediately if you’re concerned about yourself or your child.

Trust your instincts and do not wait for all the symptoms to appear or until a rash develops.

Symptoms of meningitis and sepsis include:

  • a high temperature
  • cold hands and feet
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • breathing quickly
  • muscle and joint pain
  • pale, mottled or blotchy skin (this may be harder to see on brown or black skin)
  • spots or a rash (this may be harder to see on brown or black skin)
  • headache
  • a stiff neck
  • a dislike of bright lights
  • being very sleepy or difficult to wake
  • fits (seizures)

Babies may also:

  • refuse feeds
  • be irritable
  • have a high-pitched cry
  • have a stiff body or be floppy or unresponsive
  • have a bulging soft spot on the top of their head

Someone with meningitis or sepsis can get a lot worse very quickly.

Call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E immediately if you think you or someone you look after could have meningitis or sepsis.

Call NHS 111 for advice if you’re not sure if it’s anything serious.

If you’ve had medical advice and are still worried or any symptoms get worse, get medical help again.

The rash usually starts as small, red pinpricks before spreading quickly and turning into red or purple blotches.


Mediscan / Alamy Stock Photo https://www.alamy.com/meningococcal-rash-image1683649.html?pv=1&stamp=2&imageid=83D4AFC7-AC4B-4271-B09C-727E90532943&p=17774&n=0&orientation=0&pn=1&searchtype=0&IsFromSearch=1&srch=foo%3dbar%26st%3d0%26pn%3d1%26ps%3d100%26sortby%3d2%26resultview%3dsortbyPopular%26npgs%3d0%26qt%3dATB0C2%26qt_raw%3dATB0C2%26lic%3d3%26mr%3d0%26pr%3d0%26ot%3d0%26creative%3d%26ag%3d0%26hc%3d0%26pc%3d%26blackwhite%3d%26cutout%3d%26tbar%3d1%26et%3d0x000000000000000000000%26vp%3d0%26loc%3d0%26imgt%3d0%26dtfr%3d%26dtto%3d%26size%3d0xFF%26archive%3d1%26groupid%3d%26pseudoid%3d788068%26a%3d%26cdid%3d%26cdsrt%3d%26name%3d%26qn%3d%26apalib%3d%26apalic%3d%26lightbox%3d%26gname%3d%26gtype%3d%26xstx%3d0%26simid%3d%26saveQry%3d%26editorial%3d1%26nu%3d%26t%3d%26edoptin%3d%26customgeoip%3d%26cap%3d1%26cbstore%3d1%26vd%3d0%26lb%3d%26fi%3d2%26edrf%3d0%26ispremium%3d1%26flip%3d0%26pl%3d

It does not fade if you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin.


Alamy Stock Photo https://www.alamy.com/testing-of-meningococcal-rash-image589611.html?pv=1&stamp=2&imageid=6C8D2A33-C874-43AF-A58B-398C0D9552AF&p=17774&n=0&orientation=0&pn=1&searchtype=0&IsFromSearch=1&srch=foo%3dbar%26st%3d0%26pn%3d1%26ps%3d100%26sortby%3d2%26resultview%3dsortbyPopular%26npgs%3d0%26qt%3dA8FF2B%26qt_raw%3dA8FF2B%26lic%3d3%26mr%3d0%26pr%3d0%26ot%3d0%26creative%3d%26ag%3d0%26hc%3d0%26pc%3d%26blackwhite%3d%26cutout%3d%26tbar%3d1%26et%3d0x000000000000000000000%26vp%3d0%26loc%3d0%26imgt%3d0%26dtfr%3d%26dtto%3d%26size%3d0xFF%26archive%3d1%26groupid%3d%26pseudoid%3d195878%26a%3d%26cdid%3d%26cdsrt%3d%26name%3d%26qn%3d%26apalib%3d%26apalic%3d%26lightbox%3d%26gname%3d%26gtype%3d%26xstx%3d0%26simid%3d%26saveQry%3d%26editorial%3d1%26nu%3d%26t%3d%26edoptin%3d%26customgeoip%3d%26cap%3d1%26cbstore%3d1%26vd%3d0%26lb%3d%26fi%3d2%26edrf%3d0%26ispremium%3d1%26flip%3d0%26pl%3d

The rash can be harder to see on brown or black skin. Check paler areas, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, roof of the mouth, tummy, whites of the eyes or the inside of the eyelids.


Meningitis Research UK https://hscic365.sharepoint.com/sites/Pilot/NHSUK/Health%20AZ/Forms/AllItems.aspx?id=%2Fsites%2FPilot%2FNHSUK%2FHealth%20AZ%2FHealth%20A%2DZ%2FA%2DZ%20content%20audit%2FM%2FMeningitis%2FImage%20and%20section%20review%2007%202019%2FRe%5FPhotography%20of%20the%20meningitis%20rash%2Eeml&parent=%2Fsites%2FPilot%2FNHSUK%2FHealth%20AZ%2FHealth%20A%2DZ%2FA%2DZ%20content%20audit%2FM%2FMeningitis%2FImage%20and%20section%20review%2007%202019

If a rash does not fade under a glass, it can be a sign of sepsis (sometimes called septicaemia or blood poisoning) caused by meningitis and you should call 999 straight away.

Page last reviewed: 25 October 2022
Next review due: 25 October 2025

The first symptoms of meningitis in adults: how to recognize the disease in time

Learn how to recognize the first symptoms of meningitis in adults. Monitoring your health will help you seek medical attention in a timely manner. We will talk about the manifestations of the disease, which should be taken into account.

Meningitis is a dangerous inflammatory disease of the meninges that can occur in both children and adults. Meningitis can be caused by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The disease is dangerous for its consequences, so it is important to be able to recognize its symptoms at the very beginning.

In adults, symptoms of meningitis usually start suddenly and can cause serious complications if not treated promptly. It is important to know what signs you need to pay attention to in order to recognize the disease on time and start timely treatment.

In this article we will talk about the first symptoms of meningitis that can occur in adults. Be careful and do not ignore the first signs of the disease – this will help to avoid complications and recover quickly.

Meningitis is a serious illness that can lead to death. It is characterized by inflammation of the meninges caused by infection. Adults are at high risk of getting this disease. Therefore, it is important to know what symptoms to look for in the initial stage.

If you notice these symptoms in yourself, contact your doctor immediately. For their part, doctors should make sure that you do not have meningitis and carry out all the necessary studies.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges that protect the brain and spinal cord. Inflammation can be caused by various infections such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It can also result from an allergic reaction or an autoimmune disease.

Diagnosis of meningitis requires a quick response and immediate treatment, since this affects not only the effectiveness, but also the result of treatment. If you notice the first symptoms of meningitis in yourself or someone close to you, be sure to consult a doctor.


What are the first signs of meningitis in adults?

Early signs of meningitis in adults may include headache, fever, stomatitis, nausea and vomiting, and tinnitus. These symptoms gradually increase and may lead to loss of consciousness.

Can meningitis be harmless if it is not severe?

No, meningitis is never safe. Even if the symptoms are not pronounced, it may be a manifestation of meningitis and you should immediately consult a doctor.

What medications are prescribed for meningitis?

Meningitis is treated with antibiotics, antivirals, steroids, and diuretics. Treatment can last up to several weeks, depending on the severity of the disease.

Is it possible to catch meningitis from a sick person?

Yes, you can get meningitis from a sick person. The disease is transmitted through contact with the blood, saliva or other fluids of a sick person. It is necessary to observe personal hygiene measures and avoid contact with sick people.

How is meningitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis of meningitis includes the collection of complaints, complete blood count, CSF analysis, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and other methods. It is important to consult a doctor at the first signs of the disease.

What complications can occur with meningitis?

Meningitis can cause complications, such as impaired hearing, vision, nervous function, intellectual abilities, various organs and systems. It is also possible to develop sepsis or death. At the first signs of the disease, you should immediately consult a doctor.

How is meningitis transmitted?

Meningitis is an infectious disease of the brain and spinal cord that can be caused by many types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Most cases of meningitis are airborne. That is, people can get meningitis through coughing, sneezing, talking and whooping cough.

In addition, meningitis can be transmitted through the blood and lymph in diseases such as sepsis, otitis media, sinusitis, pneumonia, and others. Certain types of meningitis can be transmitted through the intestines, for example by ingesting contaminated food or water.

The risk of contracting meningitis is increased in certain populations, such as people with weakened immune systems, travelers, medical personnel, and children living in densely populated areas. Therefore, it is necessary to take precautions such as washing hands regularly, avoiding contact with sick people, and practicing personal hygiene to reduce the risk of developing meningitis.

  • How do you wash your hands properly? Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds, thoroughly washing each finger and under the nails. Then dry your hands on a clean towel or use a hand dryer.
  • How to avoid contact with sick people? Avoid close contact with people who feel sick, especially if they have signs of respiratory illness such as cough and runny nose.
  • How can I reduce my risk of contracting meningitis? Vaccination and taking precautions, such as cleaning hands and minimizing contact with infected people, will help reduce the risk of contracting meningitis.

How to recognize meningitis in adults?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges caused by an infection. It is very important to recognize the first symptoms of meningitis in adults in order to start treatment on time.

One of the main symptoms of meningitis is a headache that is not relieved by conventional methods. It can be intense and cover the entire head. In this case, a headache often occurs in the morning, when a person is awakened by severe discomfort in the head.

Another symptom of meningitis is a severe increase in body temperature. It can reach 40 degrees and not decrease even after taking antipyretic drugs.

Also watch out for symptoms of vomiting and nausea that may accompany meningitis. Perhaps the appearance of photophobia and tinnitus.

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention from your doctor.

What are the symptoms of meningitis?

Meningitis is a serious disease caused by inflammation of the meninges. At an early stage of the disease, it is possible to confuse the symptoms of meningitis with other diseases, but with an incredible combination of them, you should immediately consult a doctor.

  • Headaches: in meningitis, headaches can be very severe and throbbing, especially when turning the head or coughing.
  • Fever: meningitis is often accompanied by high fever and chills.
  • Muscle pain: Muscle and joint pain is a common symptom of meningitis, especially in the morning and during exercise.
  • Photophobia: the patient cannot stand bright light, it is impossible to look at sunlight, strong artificial lighting, even the TV screen is considered too bright.
  • Meningeal spots: small red or purple spots on the skin may be the only sure symptom of meningitis.
  • Vomiting and nausea: in meningitis, vomiting and nausea are often associated symptoms along with headache and fever.

Also, in meningitis, there may be an exchange of impaired consciousness, convulsive attacks, disorientation in space, which indicates a severe course of the disease.

Diagnosis and treatment of meningitis: what you need to know?

Diagnosis of meningitis

The disease of meningitis is usually diagnosed on the basis of symptoms obtained during the examination of the patient. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe a number of additional studies, such as:

  • Lumbar puncture – analysis of cerebral fluid taken from the spinal canal
  • Computed tomography (CT) of the head – allows you to examine the state of the brain and membranes in detail
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head – provides additional information about the state of the brain, membranes and other tissues

Treatment of meningitis

Treatment of meningitis involves the use of antibiotics or antiviral drugs, depending on the pathogen causing the disease. In addition, other medications may need to be administered to relieve symptoms, such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs.

In more severe cases where swelling of the brain or increased intracranial pressure occurs, surgery may be done to relieve pressure and inflammation.

In general, it is important to start treating meningitis as early as possible to prevent possible complications and health consequences. If you suspect meningitis, you should consult a doctor or an ambulance.

Possible complications after meningitis

Meningitis is a serious disease that can lead to various complications, especially if not treated promptly. One possible complication is purulent meningitis, which develops as a result of a brain infection. This type of meningitis is much more severe than regular meningitis and can lead to complications such as seizures and paralysis.

Another possible complication is hydrocephalus, which occurs when fluid builds up in the brain in excess. This can lead to headaches, constant fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. In some cases, surgery is necessary to resolve this problem.

Another possible complication is venous syndrome, which occurs as a result of impaired blood supply and can lead to damage to brain tissue and neurological disorders.

  • Purulent meningitis: develops as a result of infection of the brain, can lead to convulsions and paralysis
  • Hydrocephalus: accumulation of excess fluid in the brain, can lead to headaches and difficulty concentrating
  • Venous syndrome: violation of blood supply, can lead to brain tissue damage and neurological damage

How can I prevent meningitis?

Vaccination. There is a vaccine that protects against some forms of meningitis. The risk of disease can be reduced by getting vaccinated.

Personal hygiene. Frequent handwashing, avoidance of contact with people who are ill, and use of personal hygiene items may reduce the chance of infection and transmission.

Compliance with preventive measures. If there are sick people around you, you must close the windows, do not go outside during the epidemic. In addition, large crowds of people should be avoided, especially in closed and poorly ventilated areas.

Timely visit to the doctor. If you notice the first symptoms of meningitis, you should immediately consult a doctor. The sooner treatment begins, the higher the chances of recovery and reduced risk of complications.

Take care of your immunity. Proper diet, daily routine, moderate physical activity, giving up bad habits, including foods rich in enzymes and vitamins in the diet will strengthen the immune system, which in turn will reduce the risk of contracting any infections, including meningitis.

How to communicate with a person with meningitis?

Patients with meningitis need a special approach. It is important to remember that meningitis is a serious disease that can lead to death. Therefore, the symptoms should not be ignored and it is necessary to seek medical help in a timely manner.

When dealing with a person with meningitis, certain precautions must be taken to avoid contracting the disease:

  • avoid close contact with the sick person;
  • wear a mask if you have to be around;
  • do not touch the patient’s head with your hands;
  • If you are caring for a sick person, be sure to wash your hands after contact.

Communication with a patient with meningitis should be short-term. If you are helping a sick person, then monitor your health and seek medical attention if symptoms appear.

It is important to remember that people with meningitis need medical help and medication. At the first signs of the disease, you should consult a doctor and get qualified help.

How to return to normal life after meningitis?

Meningitis can be a very serious illness and a long recovery process may be required to return to normal life. It is important to understand that each case of meningitis is individual, and doctors’ recommendations may differ depending on the severity of the disease.

To return to your normal daily routine, you must follow all the doctor’s recommendations. This may include taking medication, following a diet, and limiting exercise.

  • Take your medicine. Depending on the severity of the disease, doctors may prescribe antibiotics and other drugs to treat meningitis. It is important to take your medicines as directed by your doctor.
  • Get enough nutrients. A nutritious diet can help speed up the body’s recovery from illness. Doctors can make dietary recommendations.
  • Prevent possible complications. A variety of complications can occur after meningitis, including headaches, seizures, and visual disturbances. It is important to tell your doctor about any symptoms and follow all of your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Remember the amount of physical activity. Meningitis can affect a person’s fitness, so it is important to start with minimal exercise and gradually increase it. The doctor can give recommendations regarding exercise.

As a result, returning to normal life after meningitis can take some time. It is important to listen to your doctor’s advice, follow your diet, take your medications, and limit your physical activity. And do not forget that each case is individual and may require its own adjustments in treatment.

Rehabilitation after meningitis: important steps and recommendations

Steps in rehabilitation

Rehabilitation after meningitis is very important for restoring health and preventing possible consequences of the disease. Rehabilitation takes place in several stages:

  • Restoration of body functions. First of all, it is necessary to restore physical strength and endurance, as well as mental state. This will help exercises and training, as well as psychological support.
  • Restoration of normal nutrition. The body after meningitis needs a complete and balanced diet in order to restore lost strength and fight the consequences of the disease. It is recommended to eat often and in small portions, eat foods high in protein and vitamins.
  • Recovery of motor functions. After meningitis, problems with coordination and motor skills may occur. To restore these functions, rehabilitation programs include balance, flexibility, and strength exercises.
  • Sleep normalization. After an illness, normal sleep patterns can be disturbed, which negatively affects health and mood. To restore normal sleep, it is recommended to improve the sleeping conditions and follow a strict regimen.

Rehabilitation recommendations

After meningitis, it is especially important to take care of your health in order to avoid possible complications of the disease. To do this, you need:

  1. Visit doctors regularly. Doctors will help control the state of health and prevent complications.
  2. Observe the correct daily routine. It is necessary to avoid overwork and stressful situations, as well as to sleep a sufficient amount of time.
  3. Maintain proper nutrition. You need to eat in a balanced and regular way so that the body receives all the necessary substances.
  4. Exercise and train your physical form. This will help restore strength and stamina, as well as strengthen the immune system.

By following these guidelines, you can quickly recover from meningitis and return to a full life.


Who gets meningitis? Why is it easy to confuse it with the flu? What causes sudden death? And how not to get infected? Answers to these topical questions are given by the infectious disease specialist of the Hospital of the Medical Center of the Presidential Administration – Gulzhan Seidakhmetova.

Forms of meningitis

There are different forms of meningitis. There is one that develops due to inflammation of the ear, tooth. It is not contagious, it is not transmitted from person to person by airborne droplets.

What is now being talked about in society is meningococcal meningitis, its causative agent is a meningococcal infection. It leads to inflammation of the membranes of the brain. The danger of this infection is that it is transmitted by airborne droplets.

Carriers of infection

There is such a thing as limited (localized) meningitis. It is divided into two types: in the first case, a person infected with an infection does not get sick himself, but is a carrier of the pathogen. The second limited type of meningitis is called nasopharyngitis – the infection manifests itself locally in the form of stuffy nose and throat, as in SARS, and may not develop further. Complications and inflammation of the lining of the brain occurs with a generalized (general) form of meningitis.

Lightning reaction

Sometimes with meningitis you can hear such a statement: death came instantly. Most likely, we are talking about meningococcemia with infectious-toxic shock, the so-called fulminant course of meningococcal infection, in which the disease develops acutely, rapidly and, accordingly, leads to a rapid death.

Air Attack

Meningococcal infection is transmitted only from person to person by airborne droplets. The infection cannot be contracted through food or water.

Potential patients

As an infectious disease doctor, I can say with confidence that many infectious diseases develop in an organism with a weakened immune system. Take, for example, children. If a child has good immunity, he will be less likely to contract an infection. Usually, the disease manifests itself in those children who initially had a weak protective reaction and were often sick.

Where the infection lives

Anyone can get meningitis, but most often meningococcal infection spreads in boarding schools, barracks, in places where a large number of people are concentrated. After all, if one person is infected, then the likelihood that there will be an outbreak is high.

Masking disease

You need to pay attention to the symptoms. The development of meningococcal infection is very similar to SARS: patients with both diseases have fever, headache, and vomiting. This disease in the initial stages can also be confused with ordinary poisoning, but there is one caveat: in case of poisoning, vomiting causes relief, in case of meningitis, the patient does not get better. An important symptom of meningitis is photophobia, and those infected may develop hyperesthesia, in which any touch to the skin can cause irritation.

Safety measures

When the infection rises, it is necessary to visit less crowded places: swimming pools, cinemas, concert halls, trading houses.

At the same time, the main prevention for today is vaccines. This method, of course, is not cheap – the vaccination costs more than twenty thousand tenge, despite the fact that its effect lasts for three years.

But speaking in general, in order to prevent the development of meningitis, we, first of all, need to think about the state of our immunity. It needs to be strengthened, because this infection is transmitted through the air, and a person cannot stop breathing.