Viral Meningitis


The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by layers of tissue. These layers are called the meninges. When these layers becomes swollen and irritated, it is called meningitis. The swelling in these layers can put pressure on the brain and spinal cord. The most common forms of meningitis include:
The Spinal Cord and Meninges
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Viral meningitis may be caused by several viruses. Examples include:
Viruses can be spread in numerous ways including:

Risk Factors

Viral meningitis is more common in children under 5 years old. Other factors that may increase the chance of viral meningitis include:


Symptoms of viral meningitis include:
Symptoms in newborns and infants include:


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will focus on the nervous system.
To help rule out other causes of the inflammation, such as a tumor, your doctor may need pictures of the brain, spine, and skull. These pictures can be created with:
Viral meningitis has similar symptoms as bacterial meningitis. To make sure you do not have bacterial meningitis, the following tests of your bodily fluids may be done:


Treatment includes:


To reduce your chance of a viral infection:


Meningitis Foundation of America

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Health Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada


Enteroviral meningitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated June 7, 2012. Accessed August 27, 2014.

Viral meningitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated April 1, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.

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