Information for Patients
Also called: Spinal meningitis
Meningitis is inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges. There are several types of meningitis. The most common is viral meningitis. You get it when a virus enters the body through the nose or mouth and travels to the brain. Bacterial meningitis is rare, but can be deadly. It usually starts with bacteria that cause a cold-like infection. It can cause stroke, hearing loss, and brain damage. It can also harm other organs. Pneumococcal infections and meningococcal infections are the most common causes of bacterial meningitis.
Anyone can get meningitis, but it is more common in people with weak immune systems. Meningitis can get serious very quickly. You should get medical care right away if you have
- A sudden high fever
- A severe headache
- A stiff neck
- Nausea or vomiting
Early treatment can help prevent serious problems, including death. Tests to diagnose meningitis include blood tests, imaging tests, and a spinal tap to test cerebrospinal fluid. Antibiotics can treat bacterial meningitis. Antiviral medicines may help some types of viral meningitis. Other medicines can help treat symptoms.
There are vaccines to prevent some of the bacterial infections that cause meningitis.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) collection (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Cerebrospinal fluid culture (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Meningitis (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Meningitis - cryptococcal (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Meningitis - gram-negative (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Meningitis - H. influenzae (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Meningococcal ACWY Vaccines - MenACWY and MPSV4: What You Need to Know (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13): What You Need to Know (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine: What You Need to Know (Immunization Action Coalition)
- Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine: What You Need to Know (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. It infects the genital area, lips, mouth, or anus of both men and women. You usually get syphilis from sexual contact with someone who has it. It can also pass from mother to baby during pregnancy.
The early stage of syphilis usually causes a single, small, painless sore. Sometimes it causes swelling in nearby lymph nodes. If you do not treat it, syphilis usually causes a non-itchy skin rash, often on your hands and feet. Many people do not notice symptoms for years. Symptoms can go away and come back.
The sores caused by syphilis make it easier to get or give someone HIV during sex. If you are pregnant, syphilis can cause complications, or you could lose your baby. In rare cases, syphilis causes serious health problems and even death.
Syphilis is easy to cure with antibiotics if you catch it early. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading syphilis. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Condom Fact Sheet in Brief (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Congenital syphilis (Medical Encyclopedia)
- CSF-VDRL test (Medical Encyclopedia)
- FTA-ABS test (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Neurosyphilis (Medical Encyclopedia)
- RPR test (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Syphilis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Syphilis - primary (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Syphilis and MSM (Men Who Have Sex with Men) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- VDRL test (Medical Encyclopedia)