VIral Meningitis

virus most wanted

Viral Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord. Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis. It is often less severe than bacterial meningitis, and most people usually get better on their own (without treatment). However, infants younger than 1 month old and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

common name - aseptic meningitis

scientific name - Viral meningitis

Mode of infection

If you have close contact with a person who has viral meningitis, you may become infected with the virus that made that person sick. However, you are not likely to develop meningitis as a complication of the illness.


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)

Who Can Get infected

You can get viral meningitis at any age. However, some people have a higher risk of getting the disease, including

  • children younger than five years old, and
  • people with weakened immune systems caused by diseases, medications (such as chemotherapy), and recent organ or bone marrow transplantations.

Infants younger than 1 month old and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.


In most cases, there is no specific treatment for viral meningitis. Most people who get viral meningitis completely recover on their own within 7 to 10 days. However, 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.

Infants and people with weakened immune systems who develop severe illness may need to be hospitalized.


In the United States 1988-1999, about 36,000 cases of viral meningitis are newly occurred each year. This disease can occur in both children and adult depending on specific viruses and epidemic area. For example an outbreak reported in Romania 1996, viral meningitis is more common among adults, as well as a 9-year Spanish study, it was more often seen in patients aged 15 years or older (66.1%; mean 30.2 yo). While, patients aged younger than 15 (mean 5.9 yo) was seen 33.8% of all cases. In contrast to a study in Finland 1966 and the outbreaks in Cyprus 1996, Gaza 1997, China 1998 and Taiwan 1998, the incidences of viral meningitis were more common among children.