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- Viral infections:
- Bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis
- Parasitic infections, such as Lyme disease
- Mycoplasma, an usual bacteria that can cause pneumonia
- Partially treated bacterial meningitis
- Autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or sarcoidosis
- Cancer that has spread to the meninges
- Certain medications
- Being exposed to someone with a viral illness
- The season—mostly occurs in late spring and summer
- Working in a daycare or healthcare setting
- Having a compromised immune system
- Taking certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or medications injected directly into the CSF
- Fever and chills
- Stiff neck
- General feeling of illness
- Sore throat
- Muscle or abdominal pain
- Mental confusion
- Sensitivity to light
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blood tests
- Lumbar puncture —to evaluate CSF
- Supportive care—Your doctor may recommend that you rest and drink plenty of fluids. You may need to be hospitalized to be monitored and to stay hydrated.
Medications—If specific causes of meningitis are suspected, your doctor may advise that you take:
- Antivirals—for viral infection
- Antibiotics—for bacterial infection
- Antifungals—for fungal infection
- Pain relievers—to relieve symptoms
- Steroids—to reduce inflammation
- In certain cases, your doctor may advise that you stop some medications.
Wash your hands
often, especially if you:
- Are in close contact with a person who has an infection
- Changed the diaper of an infant with an infection
- If you work in a childcare or healthcare setting, clean objects and surfaces
- Be sure all of your vaccinations are up-to-date
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
National Meningitis Association http://www.nmaus.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada http://www.meningitis.ca
Aseptic meningitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 8, 2010. Accessed May 29, 2014.
Ginsberg L, Kidd D. Chronic and recurrent meningitis. Pract Neurol. 2008;8(6):348-361.
Jolles S, Sewell WA, Leighton C. Drug-induced aseptic meningitis: diagnosis and management. Drug Saf. 2000;22(3):215-226.
Meningococcal disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/index.html. Updated April 1, 2014. Accessed May 29, 2014.
Norris C, Danis P, Gardner T. Aseptic meningitis in the newborn and young infant. Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(10):2761-2770.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 06/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/29/2014 -