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Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meningitis (Meningococcal Disease)

Bacterial Meningitis: Overview


Meningitis is:
an infection of the fluid around the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. It often affects children and young adults, although persons of any age can become infected.

The symptoms range from fever, headache and stiff neck to more severe symptoms such as confusion or seizures.

Causes of Meningitis:
Meningitis can have many causes; usually it is caused by a bacterial or a viral infection, and many of several types of bacteria or viruses can be responsible. It is important to know whether an individual case is caused by a virus or bacterium because the severity of illness and treatment differ.

Bacterial Meningitis:

Bacterial meningitis is usually more severe than the viral meningitis. Bacterial meningitis can have serious after-effects, such as brain damage, hearing loss, limb amputation, or learning disabilities. The leading causes of this type of meningitis are the bacteria:

More information:

See also: Viral (Aseptic) Meningitis


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This page last modified on May 28, 2008
Content last reviewed on May 28, 2008
Content Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases: Division of Bacterial Diseases

Safer Healthier People

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A
Public Inquiries: 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636); 1-888-232-6348 (TTY)