Inflammation of the meninges (layers of tissue) that surround the brain and spinal cord. Two main types of this condition include:
- Viral meningitis – Infection to the layers of tissue of the brain and spinal cord caused by certain viruses.
- Bacterial meningitis – Infection to the layers of tissue of the brain and spinal cord caused by bacteria. In most cases, this type of meningitis is more severe and even deadlier than viral meningitis.
Most cases of meningitis are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial and fungal infections also can lead to this condition. Examples of viral infections include herpes, mumps and measles. Examples of bacterial infections include Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis.
Symptoms of meningitis may appear suddenly and can include conditions like high fever, headache, nausea, stiff neck, sleepiness and abnormal changes in behavior.
Since some types of meningitis can be deadly, it is imperative that anyone experiencing symptoms of meningitis should seek prompt medical attention. Treatment procedures can include taking anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, medications to control brain swelling and pressure and fluid replacement techniques.