What Is Viral Meningitis?

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By kyle
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. “Viral Meningitis, the Facts.” Meningitis Now, July 2020, Viral_meningitis_fact_sheet_july 2020.pdf, meningitisnow.org
  • 2. “Viral Meningitis.” Logan, S. A., & MacMahon, E. (2008). BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 336(7634), 36–40. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39409.673657.AE
  • 3. “Viral Meningitis.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html
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Although many people respond with feelings of alarm or dread when they hear about meningitis, there is a big difference between the two main types of this disease. The rare bacterial meningitis can be severely damaging or even deadly. Viral meningitis, however, is more common and can even occur without people knowing they have anything more than the flu.

Because the early symptoms of these two kinds of meningitis are very similar, bacterial meningitis needs to be ruled out immediately by a medical professional. Even though it usually resolves with no treatment, viral meningitis should also be taken seriously, as it can cause painful and difficult symptoms that occasionally leave patients with life-changing repercussions.

1. What Is Viral Meningitis?

Viral meningitis occurs when the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain, known as the meninges, become inflamed.1“Viral Meningitis, the Facts.” Meningitis Now, July 2020, Viral_meningitis_fact_sheet_july 2020.pdf, meningitisnow.org The meninges function as a cushion between the spinal cord and the spine. They offer the same protection between the brain and the skull. These membranes also transport cerebrospinal fluid.

Inflammation can occur when one of a number of usually harmless viruses, including the common cold, reaches the meninges. The exact virus that initiates the inflammation is often unknown. The swelling of the membranes in response to the inflammation may trigger headaches, fever, and other symptoms.

Viral Meningitis

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