Did You Know? Meningitis

Published on in Parents PACK

Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the lining covering the brain and/or spinal cord, which can lead to a stiff neck, headache, fever and drowsiness, or, more seriously, coma or death. Meningitis is not a disease in and of itself, but rather a symptom or complication of a disease that results from certain viral or bacterial infections.

Bacterial infections such as meningococcus, pneumococcus, Haemophilus influenzae type b and listeria can cause meningitis. Some viruses such as mumps, measles, chickenpox, West Nile virus, and some viruses related to polio, called non-polio enterovirus, can also cause meningitis. As a general rule meningitis caused by a virus is less severe than that caused by bacteria; however, anyone with symptoms should see a doctor immediately because the bacterial form can quickly progress to death.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.