Viral Meningitis

By Samantha Kline

What is viral meningitis?

Viral meningitis is an inflammation of the of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
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What causes it?

Non-polio enteroviruses are the usual cause of viral meningitis in the United States, especially from summer to fall when these viruses spread the most. However, only a small percentage of people who get infected with enteroviruses will actually develop meningitis.

Other viruses that can cause meningitis are

How is it spread, how can we prevent it, and how can we cure it?

Viral meningitis is spread through the spreading of the initial sickness. Once those illnesses have been cured or pacified the viral meningitis will decrease. Meaning that the meningitis can be cured by the curing of the original ailment. Although people with meningitis caused by certain viruses such as herpesvirus and influenza, may benefit from treatment with an antiviral medication. Antibiotics do not help viral infections, so they are not useful in the treatment of viral meningitis. However, antibiotics are very important when treating bacterial meningitis. So avoiding those with the earlier sicknesses can prevent the spread of the virus prompted affliction.
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Symptoms

Common symptoms in infants

  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Poor eating
  • Sleepiness or trouble waking up from sleep
  • Lethargy (a lack of energy)

Common symptoms in adults

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Sleepiness or trouble waking up from sleep
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy (a lack of energy)

Most people with viral meningitis usually get better on their own within 7 to 10 days.