Meningitis (bacterial, viral): what are the symptoms? Is there a cure?

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of one or more meninges, the three protective layers of the brain. Inflammation, in most cases, is infectious (caused by viruses or bacteria) and, in rare cases, has non-infectious causes, caused by drugs and tumors, for example.

The meninges are thin layers that lie between the skull and the brain, in addition to covering the spinal cord.

They are the dura mater, outer layer, thicker of the three, said to be rigid like leather; the arachnoid, which is thin, sits between the other two and resembles a spider web due to its shape; and the pia mater, the most sensitive of the three, which touches and adheres directly to the brain and spinal cord.

The disease is contagious in both bacterial and viral versions, and can be transmitted in different ways from person to person.

When caused by bacteria, meningitis is extremely dangerous and, if left untreated, can lead to death.

In the viral versions, it usually resolves spontaneously, although it can present risks to life.

One of the clearest symptoms of meningitis, the stiff neck (although not exclusive), is usually related to the bacterial version, so it is always a medical emergency.

The viral version usually has the same symptoms at different intensities, but differentiation between each type of disease is not feasible without laboratory tests, so it is always recommended to go to the doctor if meningitis is suspected.

It is possible to prevent some types of meningitis through vaccination, thus reducing the chances of contagion, especially in children.

Types

Meningitis can be divided between those that have infectious causes (bacterial, viral and fungal) and non-infectious. Get to know each of the types:

Bacterial meningitis

The bacterial meningitis is caused, as the name says, by bacteria. In some cases they manage to infect some of the meninges.

This type of meningitis is extremely dangerous and medical treatment is necessary and emergency.

While all bacterial meningitis is of concern, some are more common than others, such as meningococcal.

It is important to note that vaccines for meningitis only exist for bacterial versions.

Meningococcal meningitis

The most common bacterial meningitis is meningococcal meningitis. They are caused by the various variations of the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis  (meningococci), which can cause meningitis of subtypes A, B, C, W and Y. Each of the serogroups of this bacterium has its particularities.

Vaccines exist for all meningococcal meningitis, but most of them are available only in the private health sector.

SUS, however, provides vaccination against type C meningococcal meningitis, since it is the most frequent version of the disease, so immunizing the population against it is the most efficient way to reduce the number of cases.

Pneumococcal meningitis

Caused by varieties of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria , the same causes of pneumonia , pneumococcal meningitis usually manifests itself when the patient has reduced immunity.

Influenzae meningitis

Influenzae meningitis is caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae  in its various variations (A, B, C, D, E, F). The bacteria can cause otitis , pharyngitis , bronchitis , pneumonia and meningitis. There is a vaccine against variation B of the bacterium, also available only in the private sector.

Tuberculous meningite

Tuberculous meningitis is caused by the same bacteria that causes tuberculosis ( Mycobacterium tuberculosis ) and is the most serious complication of the infection caused by it. As in the case of tuberculosis, tuberculous meningitis requires long treatment.

Viral meningitis

The viral meningitis is usually milder than bacterial and is rarely fatal, even without treatment. It is often caused by enterovirus , a classification of which the polio virus is a part. It can also be caused by the herpes simplex virus or the varicella-zoster virus, in addition to HIV .

It is the most common type of the disease, accounting for almost half of the cases. Recovery can be spontaneous, but if you notice symptoms of meningitis, it is important that the patient is taken to the doctor urgently.

Fungal meningitis

Fungal meningitis is uncommon, as it commonly depends on infecting people with a weakened immune system, while other types can easily infect even individuals with a healthy immune system.

Immunosuppressive drugs and HIV contamination can weaken the immune system, facilitating inflammation of the meninges by fungal infection. The most common type of fungal meningitis, cryptococcal meningitis  , is responsible for 20% to 25% of HIV-related deaths on the African continent.

As this type of meningitis is mainly connected with a weakened immune system, which is often linked to diseases without a cure, it is common for the condition to be chronic, returning frequently after treatment.

Parasitic meningitis

Parasitic meningitis is an inflammation caused by the presence of parasites in the patient’s meninges. The parasites that cause this type of meningitis are usually Schistosoma or Taenia solium  (in the form of cysticercosis).

Eosinophilic meningitis

There is also a subtype of parasitic meningitis called eosinophilic meningitis, caused by some parasites, mainly Angiostrongylus cantonensis , whose definitive host is rodents, but which can infect humans accidentally.

The main vector of this parasite in Brazil is the giant African snail. The species was brought to the country for the production of escargot, but as there was no growth in the market, the species was released and became a pest. The snail is not the only vector of the parasite, but it is the most frequent.

Non-infectious meningitis

More uncommonly, it is possible that there is inflammation of the meninges without infection. When it happens, the inflammation is related to drugs (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics ), in addition to being caused by cancer metastasis , that is, when cancer cells reach the meninges.

Non-infectious meningitis can be caused by several conditions that affect the brain and do not involve infection by other living beings.

Several disorders can cause the disease and, in some cases, it is chronic or subacute, which means that the condition does not improve or comes back frequently as a result of its causes.

Causes

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that protect the central nervous system and the brain, the meninges, and its most frequent cause is infection, which can be viral, bacterial or fungal. However, it can also be caused by other factors.

Virus

Among the main causes of meningitis are viral infections, which can affect the protective layers of the central nervous system. They are usually caused by enteroviruses , but it is not just this viral genus that can cause the disease.

Viruses that can lead to viral meningitis include:

  • Poliovirus (Poliomielite);
  • Echovirus;
  • Herpes simplex virus (Herpes simples);
  • Varicella-zoster virus;
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV);
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.

These viral infections do not necessarily cause meningitis, but they are possibilities that should not be ignored.

Bacteria

Several common bacteria, when they reach the brain, can result in meningitis and the immune system, alone, is rarely able to deal with the infection without treatment.

The type of bacteria that causes meningitis also varies according to the patient’s age.

For example, newborns and premature infants are often infected with group B streptococci, which can live in the vagina and infect the baby during delivery, or by bacteria that inhabit the digestive system such as E. coli .

Some bacteria can be transmitted from the mother to the baby even before  delivery.

Children up to 5 years old can be infected with Haemophilus influenzae type B if they are not vaccinated. This bacterium can cause meningitis, in addition to other infections such as pharyngitis, otitis and pneumonia.

Most cases in adults are caused by Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcal meningitis) and Streptococcus pneumoniae  (pneumococcal meningitis) From the age of 50, the risk of infection with Listeria monocytogenes increases.

The amount of bacteria that can cause meningitis is large and they are always close. Several of them live in our body without causing problems, but some situations can cause them to reach the meninges.

Trauma to the skull can cause bacteria that live in the nose to reach the meninges, for example. Some invasive medical procedures can also pave the way.

It is possible that bacterial meningitis starts with sepsis or leads to one. Sepsis is a syndrome that can result from an infection in the blood, and can affect the entire body as the bacteria are carried by the bloodstream. Bacterial meningitis often causes this type of infection if not treated urgently.

Fungi

Fungal meningitis does not usually affect healthy people. The weakened immune system usually leads to this type of meningitis. HIV carriers can be infected, which is a great danger.

The fungi that can cause meningitis, when they reach the meninges, are:

  • Cryptococcus neoformans;
  • Coccidioides immitis;
  • Histoplasma capsulatum;
  • Blastomyces dermatitidis;
  • Certain species of Candida;

The first on the list is the cause of the most common fungal meningitis, called cryptococcal meningitis.

Parasites

Parasites are organisms that cannot live independently and need a host.

Several of them can cause meningitis, some of the main ones being Angiostrongylus cantonensis, a worm that causes the disease in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific Ocean basin; and Schistosoma, responsible, here in Brazil, for schistosomiasis , a serious disease that is known as water belly.

Neurocysticercosis can also cause meningitis. This disease occurs when the eggs of the parasite Taenia solium , the tapeworm (also called solitary), end up in the brain instead of the intestine or muscles, forming cysts that can cause various brain problems, including inflammation of the meninges.

Non-infectious agents

Certain conditions like sarcoidosis , vasculitis or lupus can trigger meningitis. The rupture of brain cysts, as well as, very rarely, migraines can also.

Autoimmune diseases are sometimes causes of inflammation of the meninges without infection. This last cause, however, is only considered when all others have been investigated without results.

Among the non-infectious conditions that cause meningitis are:

  • Cancer metastasis;
  • Sarcoidosis;
  • Behçet’s syndrome;
  • Lupus;
  • Sjogren’s syndrome;
  • Rupture of intracranial cysts;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

Certain drugs are related to the condition, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or immunomodulators. The ibuprofen , for example, may lead to an inflammation of the meninges. In addition, certain antibiotics can also have this effect, such as penicillins and ciprofloxacin.

In addition, injections in the so-called subarachnoid space, the region between the pia mater and the arachnoid, can lead to the condition.

Chemotherapy, anesthetics and antibiotics are drugs that can be used in this region and non-infectious meningitis is a possible side effect.

Streaming

Only bacterial and viral meningitis can be transmitted from person to person .

Contagion usually occurs through droplets of saliva, spread through speech, coughing , kissing or sneezing.

It is not necessary for the carrier of the bacterium or virus to have meningitis, especially since several of the agents that cause the disease tend to be at the root of other conditions.

The herpes virus, for example, is often transmitted by kissing from one person to another, causing herpes, not meningitis.

Many streptococcal bacteria often cause infections of the throat and ear instead of reaching the brain.

In some cases, trauma can bring bacteria that a patient already has to the brain, causing meningitis.

Another way for an infection that is anywhere in the body to reach the meninges is through bacteremia, which happens when bacteria reach the bloodstream, spreading to different parts of the body.

Fungal and parasitic meningitis are more uncommon. Its transmission does not happen from human to human, but through spores and the use of material infected with spores (in the case of fungi) and through food (in the case of parasites).

I do not part

It is possible for a mother to transmit the bacteria that cause meningitis to her child at birth, as there are bacteria like Streptococcus  that live in the vaginal canal and can cause the disease.

These bacteria are usually harmless, but they can cause problems if they come into contact with the baby’s mouth or eyes.

To prevent this type of contagion, it is important to be up to date with prenatal care. A few weeks before delivery, an exam is done to see if these bacteria are present. If so, the mother receives an antibiotic before delivery to prevent contamination of the baby.

Risk factors

Although anyone can contract meningitis, there are some factors that increase the risk of inflammation happening. Are they:

Age

Meningitis is considerably more dangerous in children than in adults. Age also influences which bacteria cause the disease.

Meningitis caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae , responsible for pneumococcal meningitis, is more frequent in adults and the elderly, while in newborn babies the disease is usually caused by bacteria  Listeria monocytogenes or Escherichia coli .

These bacteria are not limited to these age groups, but this distribution is more common. There are also other bacteria that make no distinction of age.

In the case of viral meningitis, children are much more vulnerable than adults, especially newborn babies. This is because children’s immune systems are not yet well developed.

Closed environments

Meningitis is often caused by more common infections, such as throat infections. Living with several people in closed places favors the transmission of bacterial and viral infections, which can facilitate contamination of the meninges.

Head trauma

One of the ways that bacteria can find their way into the meninges is through head trauma. One blow may be enough to cause bacteria located in the nose or throat to find their way into the brain or blood region, which can eventually end up in the meninges.

Weakened immune system

People with compromised immune systems can be more easily affected by meningitis. People with HIV or people being treated with immunosuppressants are in this risk group.

It is also this group that can most easily contract fungal meningitis, as the weakened immune system can let fungi reach the meninges.

Autoimmune diseases

People with autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can develop non-infectious meningitis. The condition can cause inflammation of the meninges, leading to meningitis.

Proximity to contaminated people

Because it is a contagious disease, being close to infected people increases the risk of meningitis. However, a quarantine regimen is not necessary if someone is infected.

The disease, although dangerous, depends on some factors to establish itself since the meninges are usually well protected from infections.

Bacteria are more likely to cause ear or throat infections than meningitis.

Symptoms

The clearest symptoms of the disease are more common in bacterial meningitis, but it is not possible to differentiate the types of meningitis just by the symptoms.

What causes them is not infection, but inflammation. Inflammation is a response of the body, it is not caused directly by the infectious agent. That is why the symptoms are the same in any type of meningitis, with variations only in intensity, which also changes from person to person.

Therefore, when you notice these symptoms and are suspicious of meningitis, it is important to take the patient to the hospital as soon as possible.

The symptoms are as follows:

  • Strong headache;
  • Fever;
  • Nape stiffness (stiff neck, meningismus, more common in bacterial);
  • Fast heart (tachycardia);
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia);
  • Lethargy;
  • Nausea;
  • Jet vomiting;
  • Neck pain;
  • Drowsiness and sleeping problems;
  • Lack of appetite.

In addition to this, children and babies may also have:

  • Uncontrollable crying;
  • Difficulty breastfeeding;
  • Cold and damp skin;
  • Pallor;
  • Swollen softness;
  • Irritability and apathy;
  • Rigid or soft body;
  • Somnolence;
  • Convulsions;
  • Breathing problems.

In addition, specific bacteria can cause other symptoms. Infection with Staphylococcus aureus  can result in back pain and meningococcal bacteria, in the advanced stages, can cause red spots to appear on the skin, as if they were small needle punctures.

These spots can also appear pink and purple, and are caused when the bacteria infect the blood capillaries after a sepsis (generalized infection) has set in.

When the bacteria infects other places, such as the throat or ear (causing a throat infection or ear infection), symptoms of these conditions may also appear.

It is important to note that, in addition to the stiff neck, jet vomiting is one of the clearest signs of meningitis. They are vomiting that comes without nausea, caused by high pressure inside the skull.

This symptom alone does not mean meningitis, but when it appears together with any of the others, it is important to take the patient to the doctor as soon as possible.

Viral meningitis is considerably less severe than bacterial meningitis and its symptoms can be mistaken for a more common infectious disease, such as a virus.

Read more: What can be constant pain in the neck?

How is the diagnosis made?

There are a few ways to diagnose meningitis. When symptoms are suspected, some tests can be done to differentiate diseases that can cause similar symptoms or find the causative agents of meningitis.

The doctors indicated for the treatment of meningitis are the neurologist  and the infectologist .

The requested exams may include:

Blood test

The blood test in case of suspected meningitis seeks, mainly, to rule out other diagnoses.

It can also differentiate between bacterial and viral meningitis, in addition to finding other infections that may be in the patient’s body, in addition to meningitis.

Imaging exams

Imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans can find abnormalities in the brain or other regions of the body, ruling out or confirming the possibility of meningitis.

Lumbar puncture and cerebrospinal fluid analysis

Lumbar puncture is the definitive exam for the diagnosis of meningitis. The meninges are not only in the brain, but protect the entire central nervous system, which is also made up of the spinal cord.

Just below the arachnoid and above the pia mater is the cerebrospinal fluid, which serves to protect the nervous system, as if it were a shock absorber, in addition to bringing some nutrients to it.

Also called CSF, this fluid can be extracted with a spinal cord needle and examined. As he is in direct contact with the meninges, he will show signs of infection if she is present.

After collecting 1mL of CSF, the tests are done. In cases of bacterial meningitis, even during the withdrawal of the liquid it is possible to see that it is cloudy or purulent  instead of transparent and clear as it should be.

In tuberculous meningitis, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis  (which also causes tuberculosis), the cerebrospinal fluid becomes slightly cloudy.

In cases of viral or fungal meningitis, there is no sign of the appearance of the cerebrospinal fluid, but other tests of the cerebrospinal fluid, such as the analysis of the amount of glucose and proteins , which are altered during meningitis, can be done for the diagnosis.

Bacterial culture can also give results, in addition to cytometry, which analyzes microbes in liquids. After diagnosis, treatment can be done.

Is meningitis curable?

Yes , meningitis can be cured, but treatment must be done quickly. It is not always easy to distinguish bacterial meningitis – which is much more dangerous – from viral or other types, which should also not be ignored.

Death from meningitis can happen quickly, in addition to other sequelae, so it is very important to take the patient with suspected disease to the hospital as soon as possible.

What is the treatment?

The treatment of meningitis depends on the type of meningitis. If the patient is very ill, it is common for doctors to medicate the patient with antibiotics before the test results even arrive.

This ensures that people with bacterial meningitis, the most dangerous, are treated as quickly as possible.

If there are signs of high intracranial pressure, it is possible to treat this elevation through drainage, which can be done through a brain shunt .

The  cerebral shunt is a valve connected to a catheter that is inside the skull, in order to remove excess cerebrospinal fluid, relieving pressure.

The treatment options are as follows:

Bacterial meningitis

Intravenous antibiotics , which have a faster action than those in tablet, are used for the treatment of bacterial meningitis.

Because it is extremely dangerous, the disease needs rapid treatment to prevent sequelae and death of the patient. Antibiotics work by killing bacteria, which causes a reduction in inflammation.

When antibiotic treatment is started before it is certain which bacteria are present (or even if there is a bacterium causing the inflammation), the chosen drug has an effect on a large number of agents. But after diagnosis, it can be switched to a more specific antibiotic.

For example, the treatment of tuberculous meningitis is different from pneumococcal, since they are different bacteria. The use of antibiotics in the case of tuberculosis can last for an entire year.

Your doctor will know which antibiotic to recommend and how long you should be taking it for.

Steroids

When antibiotics start to act and kill the bacteria, they are destroyed, but their remains are still there. This can cause another inflammatory process in the region.

To combat this adverse effect of the use of antibiotics, it is possible that steroid medications such as corticosteroids are used to control inflammation, thus avoiding possible sequelae of the disease.

Viral meningitis

Viral meningitis, in most cases, does not need treatment as it is often spontaneously cured. The doctor may recommend rest  and fluid intake  so that the patient will recover better.

When treatment is done, it is usually symptomatic (focused only on symptoms), with medications to reduce pain and discomfort until the body deals with the virus.

In specific cases, an antiviral medication may be used  to speed up the treatment and guarantee its success.

Fungal meningitis

Fungal meningitis is treated with antifungal drugs . Lumbar punctures and  brain shunts (valve) can also be used as a treatment to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid, as increased intracranial pressure is frequent when meningitis is caused by fungi.

Non-infectious meningitis

The treatment of non-infectious meningitis is extremely varied because it depends completely on the causative agent.

If it is a medication, it should be removed from the patient’s treatment. If it is a tumor, chemotherapy and surgical treatments may be the solution. If there is an autoimmune disease, control of the condition is necessary.

Treating non-infectious meningitis is a matter of knowing the cause, which must be followed according to medical knowledge.

Medications for meningitis

The drugs used to treat meningitis, for the most part, are antibiotics, since the main causes of severe versions of the disease are several bacteria.

Antivirals can be used in some cases of viral meningitis and antifungals for fungal meningitis. In either case, symptom treatment can be employed if necessary.

Antibiotics

  • Cefotaxima (Ceforan);
  • Vancomycin ( Hicovan );
  • Chloramphenicol ;
  • Ampicillin ( Amplacillin );
  • Benzylpenicilina ( Benzetacil ).

Steroids

  • Dexametasona (Acetazona).

Antivirals

  • Aciclovir.

Antifungal

  • Amphotericin B ( Ambisome );
  • Flucitosina.

Attention!

NEVER  self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Living together

While treating meningitis, it is important to follow medical advice. In several cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

Some measures can be taken to prevent contamination from other people.

Wear mask

Meningitis is not transmitted through the air, but through the droplets of saliva and mucus that can come out of a sick person’s mouth and nose while they speak, cough, sneeze or kiss.

The use of the mask prevents bacteria from reaching others and protects everyone.

Notify the school

If your child develops meningitis, notify the school where the child is studying so they can find out if there are other infected children and take preventive measures.

Hydrate

Hydrating yourself is very important in any condition that may cause vomiting, in addition to helping the immune system.

Maintain hygiene habits

Keeping objects and hands clean is one way to prevent the disease from spreading. Although most of the agents that cause meningitis will not survive outside the body for a long time, hygiene can ensure that this risk is further reduced.

Prognosis

The prognosis for each type of meningitis is different due to the different causes of the conditions.

The  bacterial meningitis , if left untreated, is extremely dangerous, but you can treat it with great efficiency. The longer the patient takes to start treatment, the greater the risk of sequelae and death, so it is extremely important that you go to the doctor as soon as possible.

In the case of viral meningitis , it is common for the body to be able to deal with it without any treatment, only with rest and hydration.

However, it is important to go to the doctor if there are symptoms, as, as already explained, it is impossible to differentiate the types of meningitis just by the symptoms. Ignoring the signs without being sure what type of disease it is can harm your health.

In fungal meningitis , most of the time, it affects people with weakened immune systems. It is not uncommon for the conditions that cause this weakening to be chronic, so contamination of the meninges can also return frequently.

In cases where the weakening of the immune system is not chronic, as soon as it recovers and the condition is treated, the disease does not usually return. It is important to note, however, that fungal meningitis can be very dangerous.

The prognosis of non-infectious meningitis depends completely on what causes the condition. If it is a medication, stopping it usually results in a complete cure of meningitis. If it is a chronic condition, such as lupus, controlling the condition can resolve meningitis.

Complications

When treatment is postponed, meningitis can have serious consequences. The longer it takes to start, the worse the sequelae.

Infection and inflammation can lead to permanent damage to the central nervous system, which can cause a variety of physical, mental and sensory problems. Between them:

Epilepsy

The damage caused by meningitis can cause seizures . In some cases, the damage can be permanent, which characterizes epilepsy , which must be treated indefinitely.

Paralysis

When the nervous system is damaged, the work of the nerves can be impaired, which can lead to difficulties in movement and even complete paralysis of certain parts of the body.

Reduction of mental abilities

Loss of concentration, learning and memory problems and even behavioral problems can be caused by meningitis that takes time to be treated properly, especially in cases where the disease presents itself in the bacterial version.

Sensory problems

Vision and hearing can be damaged by meningitis, as well as touch, if the nerves are sufficiently damaged.

Death

The most serious consequence of meningitis is death. Brain damage can be too great for the patient to survive. Late treatment may not be enough to save a patient from death from meningitis, which is more common in babies and the elderly, but can present itself in healthy adults who are slow to get treatment.

Vaccine against meningitis

There is a vaccine only for bacterial meningitis . The Ministry of Health even has a campaign that seeks to vaccinate adolescents between 9 and 14 years old against HPV and Meningococcal Meningitis C (Meningitis C).

In addition, there is a vaccine against meningitis B, which is available in private clinics. As meningitis C is the most common in Brazil, the Brazilian government makes the vaccine available for it in the SUS and runs campaigns to promote its use, unlike the vaccine for meningitis B, which is a more rare version of the disease.

There is also, in the private network, the ACWY vaccine, which protects against meningitis A, C, W and Y, that is, it prevents four subtypes of the disease in a single vaccination.

Who should be vaccinated?

Type C meningitis is the most common and its vaccine is available from SUS free of charge. It is divided into three doses.

The first dose of vaccination against meningitis C should be applied at 3 months of age. It is recommended that the second dose is applied at 5 months and the third (booster) at 12 months of age.

It is recommended to vaccinate against meningitis C before the age of 2, but anyone who has not been immunized can get the vaccines.

Read more : know everything about meningitis vaccines !

Prevention

The best way to prevent bacterial meningitis is through vaccination , but as not all bacteria that cause meningitis have a vaccine, this alone is not enough to guarantee immunity to the disease. In addition, there are meningitis caused by other agents.

You can do a few things to make sure that the chances of contagion are even lower!

Avoid crowded and closed places

Whenever possible, ventilate the room when the place is full. Many people together in an enclosed space is a guaranteed way to spread communicable diseases by speaking, coughing or sneezing to several people.

Eat well

A balanced diet strengthens the immune system, which allows your body to better protect itself against any infections, including those that can cause meningitis. It is recommended to drink plenty of water, in addition to foods that contain vitamin C such as orange, kiwi and acerola.

Wash your hands thoroughly

Especially after leaving public places like buses or subways, it is a good idea to wash your hands. The causative agents of meningitis cannot enter the body through the skin without a cut, but if you bring contaminated hands to your eyes or mouth, it is possible that you will get the disease.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water whenever you can to ensure they are free of bacteria and viruses that can lead to meningitis.

Avoid eating undercooked meat

To avoid contamination by parasites that can cause meningitis, avoid eating undercooked meats, whatever they may be. The parasites are usually contracted through food, whether from beef, pork or even mollusks, as in the case of escargot, which can be contaminated and transmit the disease if it is not well cooked.

Wash your food well

Washing food prevents more than one type of meningitis. Viruses, bacteria and parasites can be present in food, which, if not properly washed, can serve to contaminate the person.

Avoiding contamination is the most efficient way to prevent meningitis.

Common questions

Some doubts may still be present. Let’s see what are some of the most frequently asked questions about meningitis?

Am I immune to meningitis after I have the disease?

Yes and no. When you contract meningitis and heal, your body becomes immune to the pathological agent that caused the meningeal inflammation, but another bacterium or virus can cause the disease, so it is not possible to be completely immune to meningitis, but to individual causers.

Where can I get vaccinated?

You can vaccinate your children against meningitis C at health clinics. It is also possible to get vaccinated in specialized clinics for different types of meningitis such as B, A, W and Y, in addition to C.


You learned that meningitis is a serious and infectious disease, which requires urgent medical treatment when it is bacterial.

Meninges must be protected so that they can protect the brain, so it is important to look after your own immunity and go to the doctor if there are signs of the disease.

Share it with your friends so they also learn about meningitis!

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