Meningitis is an infectious disease that creates inflammation in membranes (also known as meningitis) that cover the spinal cord and brain. Meningitis can affect anyone of any age, whether it’s a child, a newborn baby, or an adult.  

Although there are many reasons behind the cause of this infection, the main 7 causes of this infection are given below: 

 

Bacterial meningitis:   

This meningitis infection happens due to bacteria getting into your bloodstream through the sinuses, ear, or throat and reaching the brain. This is life-threatening and immediate medical attention is required to save a life. It is easily transferable from one person to another through coughs and sneezes. Some of the bacterial strains that cause meningitis (commonly found in the US): 

  • Streptococcus pneumonia 
  • Group B Streptococcus 
  • Neisseria meningitidis 
  • Haemophilus influenzae 
  • Listeria monocytogenes 
  • Escherichia coli 

 

Viral meningitis:  

Viral infection (of the meninges of the brain or spinal cord) is the most common cause of meningitis. This is less serious than other forms of meningitis and most people get better without any treatment. But you should never ignore meningitis because it is a serious infection and can lead to major disabilities or life-threatening complications. It’s caused by viruses like: 

  • Non-polio enteroviruses 
  • Mumps virus 
  • Herpesviruses (including herpes simplex viruses, and varicella-zoster virus) 
  • Measles virus 
  • Influenza virus 
  • Arboviruses (like the West Nile virus) 
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus 

 

Parasitic meningitis: 

This meningitis is caused by parasites that affect animals (like snails, snakes, fish, slugs, or their eggs). When you eat meat (raw or undercooked) you can get this infection. It is exceedingly rare (in comparison to viral and bacterial meningitis). You cannot spread this infection to others.  

 

Fungal meningitis:  

This meningitis is caused by a fungal infection that makes its way to your brain and spinal cord. Healthy people rarely get infected by this infection, it mostly infects people who have a weak immune system (like people who suffer from AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease Syndrome)). 

Some of the common fungal causes are – Cryptococcus, Histoplasma, Blastomyces, Coccidioides, and Candida. 

 

Amoebic Meningitis: 

This type of meningitis is rare, and usually caused by a single celled bug called Naegleria fowleri. People get this infection by swimming in freshwater where this amoeba lives (not by drinking water). 

 

Non-infectious Meningitis:  

This type of meningitis is caused by diseases such as lupus, cancer, if you take some medications, have a head injury or brain surgery. It’s not contagious.  

 

Chronic Meningitis:  

This type of meningitis mostly happens from Mycobacteria (that causes tuberculosis) or infections from a fungus. These organisms get into the tissue or fluid that surrounds the brain and cause meningitis. Its symptoms are similar to acute meningitis, which takes several weeks to develop.  

 

Prevention 

This infection can easily be transmitted through cough, sneezes, kisses, or sharing the same objects and things that you use in your everyday life (such as toothbrushes, towels, clothes, perfumes, etc.).  

Some steps that you can take to prevent meningitis:  

  • Wash your hands with soap or water. Cleaning your hands is particularly important because you use your hands for every work. So, keeping them clean with water and soap helps you to avoid this (and other) infections.  
  • Don’t share food items, drinks, or things like straws, spoons, plates, etc.  
  • Cover your mouth or face whenever you are about to sneeze or cough.  
  • Keep yourself healthy. Eat a healthy diet, get regular workouts, and get plenty of rest.  
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk, and eggs especially when you are pregnant.  
  • Make sure you get immunized (by taking flu or other viral immune shots) that help to boost your immune system to fight meningitis. Make sure your kids also get all the doses of these immunization shots.  
  • Avoid swimming in freshwater, lakes, ponds, and the ocean. And if you are swimming in a swimming pool, try not to swallow the water of the swimming pool.  

 

Meningitis is a serious viral infectious disease that can be life-threatening and can lead to death. You should seek immediate medical help whenever you notice any major symptoms.
 

Want to know more about meningitis or need medical help regarding meningitis? 

Call us at 718-DORAL-55.