Infections - Prevention, Diagnosis & Treatment

Meningitis: What are its Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Treatment?

By S.I. (staff writer) , published on June 23, 2023

Medicine Telehealth Health infectionl headache viral

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an infectious disease characterized by inflamed meninges. Meninges are the membranes that surround our brain and spinal cord [1]. The most common presenting symptoms of meningitis include fever, photophobia, stiff neck, and vomiting. There are other symptoms as well. Meningitis can spread from person to person depending upon its type and contact with the person suffering from it. Therefore, visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible to avoid spreading the germs.



What are the Symptoms of Meningitis?

The symptoms of meningitis can vary from mild to severe in intensity depending upon the type of meningitis. Symptoms also vary according to the age of the patient. Following are some common signs and symptoms of meningitis [2]:

  • Severe headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Photophobia
  • Problem with concentration
  • Confusion
  • Altered state of consciousness
  • Skin rashes
  • Seizures
  • Upset stomach
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Numbness of the face
  • Poor thirst and appetite



What are the Types of Meningitis?

Meningitis is divided into different types depending on the causative agent. The following are the types of meningitis [3]:

  • Pyogenic meningitis
  • Tuberculous meningitis
  • Viral meningitis
  • Fungal meningitis
  • Parasitic meningitis
  • Amebic meningitis
  • Non-infectious meningitis



What are the Causes of Meningitis?

Meningitis usually results from an infection that begins from any other part of your body, eventually infecting the meninges too. Viral and bacterial infections are the most common causes of this disease. Sinusitis, ear infection, throat infection, or infection of any part of the body can lead to it. Other causes of meningitis include [4]:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Syphilis
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Immunocompromised state
  • Cancer medications
  • Prolonged hospital stay



What are the Treatment Options for Meningitis?

Treatment of meningitis varies according to the causative organism and the intensity of the disease. Here is a brief description of how different types of Meningitis are treated [5]:

  • Bacterial Meningitis: antibiotic therapy is necessary to treat bacterial meningitis. The type of antibiotic prescribed depends on the causative organisms. Anti-tuberculous therapy is advised for tuberculous meningitis. Similarly, broad-spectrum antibiotics, along with anti-inflammatory drugs, are prescribed for other types of bacterial meningitis.


  • Viral Meningitis: this type of meningitis is usually self-limiting. However, anti-viral drugs are prescribed in some cases. The patient is asked to take bed rest, drink plenty of fluids, avoid sunlight, and take painkillers.




  • Fungal Meningitis: it is a less common type of meningitis. Anti-fungal medicines are prescribed together with some anti-inflammatory and painkiller medicines. Bed rest is advised for some time. You might need to get hospitalized if you are severely dehydrated. Therefore, it is advised to take rest and plenty of fluids.


Untreated meningitis can result in serious complications such as brain damage, memory loss, stroke, kidney failure, and shock. Therefore, if you notice any symptoms of meningitis in yourself or your loved ones, please visit your health care provider right away. 









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