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Meningitis


Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment, while bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability.

High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect, and the infant may only appear slow or inactive, or be irritable, have vomiting, or be feeding poorly.


MENINGITIS
autopsy specimen of meningitis due to
Streptococcus Pneumoniae
   




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Disclaimer: Recommendations are provided only as an assistance for educators and for physicians making clinical decisions regarding the care of their patients. As such, they cannot substitute for the individual judgment brought to each clinical situation by the patient’s physician. As with all clinical reference resources, they reflect the best understanding of the science of medicine at the time of publication, but they should be used with the clear understanding that continued research may result in new knowledge and recommendations. Links to organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) or the Group on Immunization Education (GIE), and none should be inferred. The STFM and the GIE are not responsible for the content of the individual organization webpages found at these links. The Group on Immunization Education is responsible for the planning and administration of this web site.