Diagnosis Code 047.8
Information for Medical Professionals
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, which you get 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 block blood vessels in the brain and lead to stroke and brain damage. It can also harm other organs. Pneumococcal infections and meningococcal infections can cause bacterial meningitis.
Anyone can get meningitis, but it is more common in people whose bodies have trouble fighting infections. Meningitis can progress rapidly. You should seek medical care quickly if you have
- A sudden fever
- A severe headache
- A stiff neck
Early treatment can help prevent serious problems, including death. Vaccines can prevent some of the bacterial infections that cause meningitis. Parents of adolescents and students living in college dorms should talk to a doctor about the vaccination.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) collection
- Cerebrospinal fluid culture
- Meningitis - cryptococcal
- Meningitis - gram-negative
- Meningitis - H. influenzae
- Meningitis - meningococcal
- Meningitis - pneumococcal
- Meningitis - staphylococcal
- Meningitis - tuberculous
- Meningococcal Vaccines: What You Need to Know (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine: What You Need to Know (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine: What You Need to Know (Immunization Action Coalition)
- Syphilitic aseptic meningitis
Viruses are capsules with genetic material inside. They are very tiny, much smaller than bacteria. Viruses cause familiar infectious diseases such as the common cold, flu and warts. They also cause severe illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, smallpox and hemorrhagic fevers.
Viruses are like hijackers. They invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This eventually kills the cells, which can make you sick.
Viral infections are hard to treat because viruses live inside your body's cells. They are "protected" from medicines, which usually move through your bloodstream. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. There are a few antiviral medicines available. Vaccines can help prevent you from getting many viral diseases.
NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
- Chikungunya virus
- ECHO virus
- Enterovirus D68
- Hand-foot-mouth disease
- Molluscum contagiosum