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Different types meningitis: Types and Causes of meningitis

Types and Causes of meningitis

Meningitis is usually caused by viruses or bacteria. Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis, followed by bacterial meningitis. Rarer types of meningitis include chemical and fungal meningitis. The most common types of bacterial meningitis are meningococcal, pneumococcal, TB, group B streptococcal and E.coli.

Find out about the treatments and support we offer for all types of meningitis:

  • Viral meningitis

    Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis and can cause life-changing after-effects

  • Bacterial meningitis

    Bacterial meningitis needs rapid admission to hospital and urgent treatment with antibiotics

  • Meningococcal disease

    The term meningococcal disease is used to describe meningitis and septicaemia

  • Pneumococcal meningitis

    Pneumococcal meningitis is caused by a bacteria called streptococcus pneumoniae

  • TB meningitis

    TB meningitis is caused when infection begins elsewhere in the body, usually the lungs

  • Group B streptococcal

    Group B streptococcal disease is the main cause of meningitis in babies

  • Neonatal meningitis

    Neonatal meningitis is split into two groups: ‘early onset’ or ‘late onset’

  • E.

    coli meningitis

    E. coli are the second most common bacterial cause of neonatal meningitis

  • Fungal meningitis

    A rare cause of meningitis, which usually occur when the immune system has been affected by other diseases

  • Rare types of meningitis

    There can be many rarer causes of meningitis, commonly bacteria and viruses

Rare types of meningitis | Meningitis Now

Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b) disease

  • Prior to the introduction of a Hib vaccine in 1992, Hib bacteria were the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children under five years old in the UK
  • A Hib vaccine is available as part of the UK routine immunisation schedule and has significantly reduced the number of cases of Hib disease
  • Every year there are around 30 cases of Hib meningitis in the UK
  • Most people make a good recovery, but around 3% will die
  • 3 – 5% of survivors will suffer severe after-effects, such as hearing loss and long-term neurological complications
  • Hib bacteria can also cause other infections such as epiglottitis (rapid swelling of the epiglottis), septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, pericarditis, cellulitis, bronchitis and otitis media

Listeria meningitis (listeria monocytogenes)

  • Listeria bacteria can be found in foods such as unpasteurised soft cheeses, pate and shellfish
  • These bacteria may cause flu-like illness with diarrhoea in pregnant women, but may also cause premature labour
  • A baby with a Listeria infection will usually be unwell from the time of birth, although late onset disease is also recognised
  • Very few cases of Listeria meningitis now occur each year in the UK. This is the result of a successful education campaign warning about the dangers of eating certain foods during pregnancy

Mollaret’s meningitis

Mollaret’s meningitis is a rare type of chronic, recurrent, lymphocytic meningitis, often caused by infection with Herpes Simplex virus type 2.

  • The disease was first described as a form or recurrent meningitis in 1944 by Pierre Mollaret
  • Herpes Simplex virus type 2, which usually causes genital herpes, is present in many cases of Mollaret’s meningitis
  • Herpes Simplex viruses can directly infect the central nervous system and can be inactive for a time without the person showing any signs or symptoms
  • Reactivation of the infection can then cause a recurrent episode of disease
  • About one in five people who have an initial episode of Herpes Simplex virus type 2 meningitis will have a recurrence. If symptoms recur more than three times, this is then called Mollaret’s meningitis
How long does Mollaret’s meningitis last?

An episode of Mollaret’s meningitis can last anything between a few days to a few weeks (usually between two – seven days) and usually resolves without any need for treatment.  

  • Episodes of Mollaret’s meningitis can be months or years apart and can be a considerable burden to sufferers
  • There is usually complete recovery between episodes, with no permanent after-effects
  • An antiretroviral medication called ‘acyclovir’, which can also be used to treat genital herpes and cold sores, can be used to treat Mollaret’s meningitis episodes, although there is a lack of evidence to support this
  • Anyone with recurrent episodes of viral meningitis should be assessed by a neurological infection specialist

Parasitic meningitis

Certain parasites can cause meningitis; however, this is very rare.

  • The most common cause of parasitic meningitis is an amoeba; Naegleria fowleri
  • This organism can cause Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), a very serious condition
  • Naegleria fowleri lives in warm fresh water lakes or ponds and poorly maintained swimming pools, and can infect people who swim or dive in the water
  • The organism enters the body through the nose and then migrates to the brain, where it damages brain tissue, causing PAM
  • Young males appear to be at the highest risk for this type of meningitis, however it is extremely rare that contact with contaminated water results in disease

Non-infectious meningitis

Bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are organisms that infect the body and cause disease. However, meningitis can also develop due to other, non-infectious reasons, which include certain chemicals and cancers. Non-infectious meningitis is not contagious, so it does not spread from person to person.

Chemical meningitis

  • Chemical meningitis is disease that is not caused by infectious agents, such as bacteria or viruses, but by a certain substance or chemical
  • Certain drugs may cause chemical meningitis, including contrast agents used during X-rays or scans and some medicines used to treat cancer
  • Fat droplets leaking into the space between the skull and brain due to rupture of benign tumours can also cause chemical meningitis
  • Chemical meningitis is said to be ‘sterile’ and is characterised by the absence of bacteria or other organisms in the cerebrospinal fluid
  • Chemical meningitis may resolve with little treatment, however, depending on the underlying cause, it may require steroid therapy to limit inflammation and/or surgery to remove a tumour

Malignant or carcinomatous meningitis

  • Malignant or carcinomatous meningitis is meningitis caused by cancer
  • This type of meningitis is quite rare and affects less than 5% of cancer patients with a solid tumour, such as breast cancer, lung cancer or melanoma
  • Malignant meningitis may develop when the cancer spreads to the central nervous system
  • Malignant meningitis may resolve with successful treatment of the cancer through chemotherapy

Cryptococcal meningitis

  • Cryptococcal meningitis is caused by a type of
    fungus which is found in the soil and bird droppings
  • This type of meningitis mainly affects people
    with a weakened immune system e. g. HIV positive or people taking immunosuppressive
  • It is not contagious, meaning that it cannot be
    spread from person to person
  • Symptoms may develop over several weeks and
    include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, dislike of bright lights and altered
    mental state
  • People with cryptococcal meningitis are treated
    with antifungal medication. Some will require life-long maintenance treatment
    to help prevent recurrence

Other non-infectious causes of meningitis

  • Meningitis may also develop due to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), anatomical defects or brain surgery
  • Anatomical defects and brain surgery can result in open wounds or spaces which make it easier for bacteria that can cause meningitis to directly infect the meninges and cause disease. However these causes of meningitis are rare
Been affected by a rare type of meningitis?

Don’t face meningitis alone. Call our Meningitis Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 to speak to our experienced staff. You can access our free support or ask us any questions. Whatever your experience, whenever it was, please get in touch. Our support is for life.

symptoms, types, treatment and prevention

Imagine that you got up in the morning and felt unwell. The thermometer shows high temperature, headache, nausea, weakness, pulse quickens. Flu, you think. “Meningitis,” the doctor might say. Together with an expert, we figured out how to recognize meningitis and what can it lead to?

Alexander Boblov

Honored Doctor of Russia, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Doctor of the Highest Qualification Category, Chief Doctor of the Infectious Diseases Hospital

1. What is meningitis?

2. Types of meningitis

3. Causes of meningitis

4. Symptoms of meningitis: everyone should know this

5. Diagnosis of meningitis

6. How to treat meningitis?

7. Consequences of meningitis

8. Warnings

9. Prevention of meningitis

10. Conclusion

What is meningitis

900 36 Meningitis is a condition in which the lining of the brain becomes inflamed. That is, not the brain itself, but its membranes – otherwise it will already be encephalitis. Inflammation of the membrane looks the same as a burn of any part of the body: redness, swelling, inflammation, temperature.

Today the statistics on meningitis is stable – this is not a very common disease. It can only change depending on the epidemiological situation. For example, the likelihood of getting meningitis is higher during an epidemic of influenza or other infectious diseases. During such periods, processes arise in which these diseases can give complications. After all, meningitis itself is not a simple disease. This is a consequence of some difficult process: infectious, traumatic, intrauterine and many others. The disease occurs if there are complications of the pathological process that has entered the body: microbes, viruses.

From birth to death, anyone can get meningitis, regardless of position or position. Unborn children, of course, cannot get sick. But during intrauterine processes, pathogens may appear that can infect the fetus. And at birth, they can provoke meningitis in a weak organism.

The disease can lead to severe consequences, including death. As a result of inflammatory processes, the membranes of the brain swell, become inflamed, and in fact they circulate blood and cerebral fluid. All this circulates through the spinal cord, through the brain, nourishes, feeds, makes it possible to drain all kinds of unnecessary waste. Therefore, when circulation is disturbed in edematous syndrome, edema becomes like a tourniquet. A similar situation will happen if you strongly bandage and pull your hand. After a while, she will die. As a result of meningitis, herniation of the brain can also occur, severe consequences of fluid pressure: it stops circulating, stagnates, suppurates and can hit the body.

Types of meningitis

By the nature and extent of inflammation

Meningitis appears in case of complications. They can give a virus and pus. There are meningitis that are associated with certain pathogens. For example, tuberculous meningitis may occur after contracting tuberculosis. After chickenpox – “chickenpox”, after rubella – “rubella” meningitis. But this classification is necessary for the doctor. Parents just need to understand if their child has been in contact with a sick person with the flu or chickenpox, because, most likely, this will be the reason. If the cause is trauma, then this is traumatic meningitis, respectively, the traumatologist will provide assistance to the patient.

By the rate of development

The rate of spread depends on the state of the person, his immunity. Today there are fast-growing forms of meningitis that develop within hours. It all depends on the organism in which it develops. That is, if a person with a myocardial infarction or severe neurological conditions falls ill, then meningitis can develop instantly.

Very often meningitis develops immediately in children. The child just got sick with the flu – and immediately gets almost into intensive care.

But sometimes the disease can develop within 5-6 days. For example, the flu gradually developed, the body seemed to be fighting, and the flu found a weak spot and hit it. This is called a secondary complication, which is harder and more difficult to treat: now many microorganisms have learned to coexist with both antibiotics and antiviral drugs. Therefore, you can’t just take, inject some kind of drug and be healthy the next day. This is a long and stubborn process, followed by therapeutic measures and rehabilitation.

According to the severity of meninge It can be mild, moderate, severe and extremely severe. In the latter case, meningitis develops so quickly that the body does not have time to fight it. There are severe complications that lead to edema processes and the cessation of the functioning of the cerebrospinal fluid system, metabolic processes. Due to edema, pressure on the brain begins. Everything in the complex leads to difficult processes up to death.

There are the following situations. Parents bring the child to a neurologist, complain of tinnitus, headache, some convulsive conditions. It turns out that the child had been ill with the flu a couple of months ago. Meanwhile, the symptoms of meningism remained in the memory of the body. Over time, this goes away on its own.

Of course, you can’t get mild meningitis without noticing it, but it can go away on its own. But there are cases of self-healing. There are viral meningitis, which begin the intensive development of the viral process and provoke meningeal symptoms. The general viral process goes away – the signs of the disease also go away. But the percentage of self-healing is low – it is 5-10%.

Causes of meningitis

Viral meningitis

Absolutely any disease or injury can cause. Most often we react to some viral diseases: influenza, severe forms of SARS, tuberculosis, chicken pox, rubella, meningococcus. The last case is the most difficult, because a purulent process develops there, a very high contagiousness and danger. There are severe consequences that lead to encephalitis, to severe consequences with complications on the brain.

Bacterial meningitis 9 0007

Basically, any bacteria can cause meningitis. Here you need to pay attention to something else: purulent meningitis or not. When a large number of bacteria accumulate, they break down and form pus, dead cells, and the like.

At the first stage, there is no decay yet, only an edematous-inflammatory process is going on, but there are pathogens: in one case – viruses, in viral states sometimes something flows easier, sometimes – microbes that cause pus later. Imagine: you burned your hand, it turned red and swollen, after a while a purulent wound appeared on this hand. It’s exactly the same here. We have a large amount of pathogen, which leads to suppuration. For example, staphylococcus, which then lead to suppuration.

Fungal meningitis

Fungi are so abundant on our planet that any of them – from mold to all others – can cause meningitis. They are used in many fields. At one time there were even fantastic stories about how mushrooms conquer the planet. There are thousands of mushroom species that are adapted to the human body. There are mushrooms that are adapted for plants, there are for the soil, and there are those that live in kefir. And here are the fungi that antibiotics themselves can cause. Because antibiotics at one time were formed on fungi. Fungal infection of the body, including meningitis, can also be from long-term treatment of the patient. It seems that we treat, we treat, we add one antibiotic after another and a fungal infection begins. Therefore, it is also impossible to arbitrarily swallow any antibiotics and drugs. Sometimes they are even forced to take antifungal drugs in addition to antibiotics to prevent the occurrence of fungal infections.

Symptoms of meningitis: everyone should know this

in SARS, influenza and any other infections. Fever, watery eyes, nasal discharge, intoxication, feeling unwell, muscle pain – these symptoms, which we know with influenza and SARS, suddenly begin to worsen. The patient begins to be afraid of light, react sharply to loud sounds due to severe, intolerable headaches. Often you have to give analgesics to get rid of it. This is how the edematous syndrome manifests itself.

Further, the symptoms become more complicated, and the patient’s condition must be diagnosed by a doctor. He can already identify specific signs of the disease: for example, a symptom of Brudzinsky or Kernig. If a doctor diagnoses meningitis, he can immediately send him to the hospital to continue the diagnosis – you need to understand what type of meningitis it is.

You can try to identify signs of meningitis yourself with the help of tests:

Muscle stiffness

The patient lies on his side with his head thrown back and legs bent. When he tries to straighten his neck, nothing comes out

Rashes on the skin

A test will help distinguish between a rash and an allergy: put a glass of transparent glass on the rash and press so that the skin under the glass turns pale. If the rash also turns pale, there is no meningitis. If the rash has retained its color, then it is worth looking at other symptoms

Inability to straighten the legs


The most common diagnostic method at the outpatient stage is blood and urine donation. According to the results of the analysis, it will be seen whether there is an inflammatory process in the body.

Spinal puncture will provide the most objective and reliable results. Fluid is taken from the spinal cord and checked under a microscope, and it already shows what exactly is the pathogen: streptococcus, staphylococcus, gonococcus, virus, etc.

There are studies that test the blood for the virus, for example, during the epidemic season.

How to treat meningitis

Mild meningitis can be treated with medicines prescribed by a doctor.

If the form is more severe, it is necessary to urgently be hospitalized in a medical institution, where antibacterial, antiviral drugs will be prescribed. If necessary, droppers may be prescribed. They try to avoid this, since excess fluid in the body is not needed. But if you need to remove intoxication, droppers are carried out, toxins and poisons are intensively washed out. With meningitis, you do not need to self-medicate.

If a lot of pus accumulates in the lining of the brain, intensive antibiotic therapy is prescribed. Pick up antibiotics that destroy including pus. Antiviral drugs, especially for a purulent, bacterial process, are selected individually. For some, penicillin is enough, while others are treated with two or three different antibiotics.

In addition, a lumbar puncture is performed. In fact, this is a puncture, during which part of the excess fluid that has accumulated due to lack of circulation is partially removed. With the help of a lumbar puncture, pressure is reduced and swelling is removed. In addition to the therapeutic function, this operation also performs a diagnostic function: the material obtained can be examined and accurately determine the type of bacterium or virus that caused meningitis.

Consequences of meningitis

The consequences of meningitis can be very different. It all depends on what diseases someone has and where the complications will go. Very many then have to be observed and treated by neuropathologists, as severe neurological consequences remain – from neurological pain to paralysis. The consequence is severe neurological diseases, such as neuritis. Complications have to be treated by a neurologist for years after meningitis has long been forgotten. Sometimes meningism remains – this is when a person has not been fully treated. If something remains from the previous consequences, then this is “fertile” ground for the development of neurological symptoms in the future.

Sometimes meningitis can leave a person disabled. This gives restrictions when working in certain specialties – for example, such people cannot be pilots, train drivers.

Unfortunately, after bacterial meningitis, 20% of those “cured” become disabled. Of course, this is not 100%, but still quite a high figure. The most common complication after the disease is hearing loss. Slightly less common are the following consequences of infection:

Memory disorders

Learning disabilities

Brain damage

Gait and coordination disorders


Kidney failure

Loss of limbs

Prev warnings

The main problem is when patients see, know and understand what is bad, but they believe that everything will pass by itself. That is, they see, but do nothing. And you need to do it without thinking. Either go to the clinic, or call a doctor at home. The specialist will tell you to take an x-ray, undergo an examination of the ear, throat, nose and other diagnostic measures, donate blood. Based on the results of the analysis, it will be clear whether there are any inflammatory or purulent processes. All this is seen in combination, when an uncharacteristically severe course of the disease is seen, with symptoms of headache, photophobia, stiffness, muscle pain, neck pain, and so on. It all says that something is wrong, you need to see a doctor.

Under no circumstances should you self-medicate. A broad-spectrum drug will not cure, but only temporarily remove the symptoms

Even a doctor who knows and owns information finds it difficult to choose a therapy for these diseases. When traumatic meningitis occurs, this is one treatment. When meningitis occurs from viral diseases – another. If from tuberculosis – the third. And if you take any medicine, relatively speaking, broad-spectrum antibiotics, it can “blur the picture.” The drug will not cure a person, it will remove the symptoms for a while (a day or two) . A person thinks that he is better and stops treatment, and then complications begin. Somewhere a purulent process could develop, somewhere an abscess arose. After that, it is very difficult to remove the patient from such a state, the risk of death increases. The doctor cannot determine the cause of the poor condition. This leads to a deterioration in diagnosis, complication of therapeutic measures. The doctor has to prescribe other antibiotics, as well as additional drugs. Or maybe the doctor would immediately prescribe an antibiotic and an antiviral drug and everything in the complex would crush this process.

Meningitis is talked about little and infrequently, but if there is an outbreak of the disease with a fatal outcome, everyone seems to wake up. The fact is that the disease is easily confused with the flu or SARS, but here the wrong treatment is fraught with death.

For example, at the beginning of the year, a five-year-old girl died of an illness. Yana Savchenko and her little daughter were returning from St. Petersburg to Moscow by train. A few hours before departure, the girl complained of chills. Already on the train, her temperature rose to 39,5 degrees. The temperature was brought down, but it again rapidly grew to 40, 40.5 degrees. The girl started to go crazy.
At the bus stop in Tver, an ambulance was called directly to the train. Doctors, having examined the patient, gave an injection and said that the child could go further, there was nothing to worry about. And then it got worse: the girl complained of terrible pain in her leg from any touch. There were spots on the body.
Doctors in Moscow didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary at first either, but on closer examination they suspected meningitis. The girl was rushed to the hospital, but she died a few minutes later. On the same day, 11-month-old Alfiya died in the same hospital from the same infection.

Photo from the personal archive of Yana Savchenko

Meningitis can hit a person at any time, but while the patient is treating a non-existent flu, the infection can spread greatly. At the same time, not everyone will distinguish meningitis from other diseases, since almost no one knows about the symptoms. The mother of the deceased girl also says the same: several myths.


At school, parents, teachers often say the following thing: when you have a runny nose, don’t pull yourself in – there will be meningitis. You can pull it out of yourself and still have meningitis.

We have a protective mechanism – mucous, it accumulates secretions in order to remove them, and we swallow them. That is, we do not swallow all this into the lungs, it will enter the gastrointestinal tract, etc. and, accordingly, what remains in the lungs and in the bronchi during sleep, etc. it enters the body and accumulates. And then another law sets in, the law of critical mass, when the amount of the pathogen comes, with which the body can no longer cope, and a disease occurs.


It is also often said: put on a hat, otherwise there will be meningitis. But it’s not. Of course, going without a hat in winter means increasing your chances of catching a cold and lowering your immunity, but this is not connected with meningitis.

Therefore, at first, the rules of diagnosis are important. If weighting, deterioration, the symptoms that we talked about begin: headache, lacrimation, fear of light, a serious condition, any noise is perceived as a chiming clock under the ear. With such symptoms, it is necessary for the child to urgently take care of the doctor.

There is no prevention of meningitis as such. Only when the doctor determines what kind of meningitis it is and why it occurs, something can be done. Let’s say the prevention of meningitis from the flu is flu shots. There may be rubella vaccines, but there can be no injury vaccines.

Meningitis is primary, but most often it is an advanced disease. If meningitis is formed on the basis of tuberculosis, then there is a prophylaxis for tuberculosis and appropriate preventive vaccinations. They are made in the hospital and in the future.

A healthy, strong person tolerates meningitis more easily and is much less likely to develop it. Preventive measures include the usual preventive measures to maintain health. Although, athletes can also get sick – do not forget about overloading the body. Having big muscles doesn’t mean you can’t get meningitis. Everything is individual and depends on the person and his condition.

For the prevention of meningitis, a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, exercise, getting enough energy without overload, walking in the fresh air, jogging are useful. Avoid closed spaces, fewer teams where someone can bring something. This is not about hygiene. Starting from phones, ending with pens in shops, public transport, plastic cards, money – all this in the complex is also a way of transmitting pathogens. You need to wash your hands more often, wash your face, rinse your nose, bring your hands to your mouth less. Phones, watches, keyboards can be carriers of pathogens.


Whenever possible, take a rest, eat right, eat vegetables and fruits, natural products in your writing, so that the body is ready for difficult conditions during winter and late autumn and early spring, when the sun will not be enough. Get enough solar energy, spend more time outdoors, keep fit. All this in a complex allows you to maintain your body in such a state that it can fight any infection and prevent it from developing in your body.

Authors: Daria Redkina, Veronika Kizima, Ekaterina Eremenko

Made on Tilda

how it is transmitted, causes, symptoms, signs, consequences, diagnosis, treatment, prevention







Profile aktika

Meningitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. This is a whole group of pathologies, which is divided into two subtypes: pachymeningitis affects the hard shell of the brain, and leptomeningitis – soft and arachnoid. The second option is much more common.

Meningitis can develop as an independent disease, or become a consequence of another disease and proceed in the form of its complications. Pathology is considered one of the most severe and occurs with a threat to the life of the patient.

Causes and triggers

The causes of meningitis are a variety of viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa. Meningococcal meningitis is usually caused by the gram-negative bacteria meningococci. Fighting this pathogen is not so easy, since it has a special capsule that protects meningococcus from the effects of drugs.

This acute infectious disease is most often diagnosed in children under 5 years of age. And if earlier it was whole epidemics, today isolated cases are increasingly being diagnosed, which, with proper early diagnosis, can be treated quite well.

The source of the disease is only an infected person with symptoms of the disease or a carrier. If we talk about how meningitis is transmitted, then it happens by airborne droplets. Most often, children who are in groups or adults who are in the same poorly ventilated room during the working day become infected.

Most diagnoses of this type are made in the autumn-winter period. The provoking factors are:

  • sharp fluctuations in outdoor temperature, when frosts are replaced by thaws;
  • high humidity both indoors and outdoors;
  • long stay in one closed room;
  • lack of walks in the fresh air;
  • constant use of public transport;
  • lack of proper hygiene.

In this acute infectious disease, preventive measures are very important. Only they help not to catch meningitis during its growth.


Meningitis in adults occurs mainly in the male population, and in women, pathology is less common. All manifestations of the disease can be divided into several large groups.

The first will include two striking symptoms of meningitis – photophobia and hyperacusis. In the first case, an increase in pain syndrome will be observed in bright light, and in the second case, with a strong sharp sound.

The second group includes intoxication syndrome. The patient has weakness, lethargy and even apathy, a complete breakdown, aches all over the body, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

The third group is all kinds of syndromes that can be detected when examining a patient using percussion or pressure on certain parts of the body. However, only doctors can perform this procedure correctly.

The fourth group of signs of meningitis is tonic muscle tension. This is expressed in the inability to bend the head at the neck and bring the chin to the chest. Also, the patient cannot return the lower limbs to their original position if they are bent at the knees and hips.

Fifth group – decreased abdominal and tendon reflexes.

Meningitis is more common in children than in adults, the disease is more severe and can have many consequences. Children are often unconscious, while they put their hands on their heads and begin to scream loudly. This is due to high intracranial pressure, which brings unbearable suffering to babies.

The meningitis rash is most often found on the legs, rarely on the shoulders, and very rarely on the head. At first, these are ordinary maculopapular papules, which then change their character to hemorrhagic. Other symptoms include fever, fever, unconsciousness, repeated vomiting.


Since meningitis can be caused by a variety of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even protozoa, the classification of the disease begins with this important indicator.

Serous meningitis is caused by enteroviruses. Infection most often occurs while swimming in open water or in a public pool, sauna, bath. Ticks can also be carriers of the virus. Most often, the disease is observed in babies aged 3 to 6 years, in adults this form practically does not occur.

Viral meningitis is a disease that occurs when infected only with Coxsackie and ECHO viruses. They contain RNA, and all serotypes of this virus are pathogenic for humans. In nature, they are very stable, they are transmitted from a sick person to a healthy person by contact-household or airborne droplets.

Bacterial meningitis is an inflammatory disease that develops when various bacteria enter the body. It can be staphylococci, pneumococci, meningococci, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

According to its course, the disease is divided into acute, subacute and chronic. Separately, fulminant meningitis should be singled out, in which death can occur in just a few hours from the moment the first symptoms appear.

The severity of the disease can be mild, moderate or severe. Also, after suffering inflammation of the meninges, complications can develop, and complete recovery can occur without any consequences.


Complications after meningitis are not uncommon. They can be divided into early and late. In this case, not only the central nervous system, but also other organs and systems can suffer.

Among the most common consequences of meningitis, doctors distinguish:

  • swelling or swelling of the brain;
  • pulmonary edema;
  • infectious-toxic shock;
  • kidney failure;
  • acute adrenal insufficiency;
  • myocarditis;
  • arthritis;
  • epilepsy;
  • paralysis;
  • bleeding.

Treatment of all complications requires mandatory placement of the patient in the intensive care unit. Medicines and other medical procedures are prescribed strictly individually.


The main reliable method for diagnosing any meningitis is a lumbar puncture followed by examination of the cerebrospinal fluid. During the study, the liquid through the needle will flow out under pressure, although normally it should only drip in frequent drops. With serous meningitis, it will be transparent, with purulent – cloudy.

Other research methods are not as important in making an accurate diagnosis, so they are used quite rarely. This is an MRI of the brain or spinal cord, in some cases CT, but only when it is not possible to perform the first option for examining the patient.


Treatment of meningitis should be started as early as possible, often with only suspicion of the disease, antibacterial drugs and sulfonamides are prescribed. Therapy is carried out exclusively in a hospital or intensive care unit. At home and in a clinic, this serious infection is not treated.

In addition to antibiotic therapy, other forms of meningitis may also be prescribed. These are antiviral, anti-tuberculosis, to combat fungal infections of the brain or spinal cord. Antibiotics are powerless against such pathogens. It is important that all drugs used in treatment are administered directly into the bloodstream, and not performed as intramuscular injections. During the treatment period, it is monitored, which is done with the help of a repeated control lumbar puncture.

Symptomatic therapy is prescribed to improve the general condition of the patient and relieve other symptoms of the disease. These can be diuretics, hormonal agents, antioxidants, glucose, drugs for high fever, vascular agents. They are prescribed strictly individually – it all depends on the general condition of the patient and the severity of the inflammatory process in the body.

According to clinical guidelines for meningitis, it is recommended that a patient be discharged from the hospital not after the improvement of the general condition and the absence of symptoms of the disease, but at the moment when his cerebrospinal fluid tests are normal and they do not contain the causative agent of the disease. After discharge from the hospital, the patient is placed under dispensary observation for up to 3 years.

Prevention and prognosis

Disinfection measures are carried out in the focus of infection, and all contacts, even without initial signs of infection, must undergo a full prophylactic course of antibiotics. Cephalosporins are usually the drugs of choice.

Prevention of meningitis includes specific and non-specific interventions. In the first case, all children are recommended to do all the necessary vaccinations according to age. In the second case, it is recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle, regularly strengthen the immune system, take vitamin and mineral complexes twice a year, and follow the rules of personal hygiene.

In case of a severe course of the disease with the development of complications, it is possible to apply for disability. In mild cases, the patient makes a full recovery without any further mental or physical health effects.

The author of the article:

Markelov Gleb Vladimirovich

neurologist, online consultations

experience 7 years

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