(CBS4) — Meningitis (often referred to as “the kissing disease”) is an infection of the coverings around the brain and the spinal cord.

The infection (both viral and bacterial) most often strikes children, teens and young adults. Older adults and people with long-term health problems are also at risk.

Viral Meningitis:

  • Fairly common
  • Usually not serious
  • Most severe cases cause prolonged fever and seizures

Bacterial Meningitis:

  • Less common
  • Very serious
  • Could cause brain damage
  • Could cause hearing loss
  • Can be deadly if not treated right away

Both types share the same symptoms (some more common than others):

  • Stiff, painful neck
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble Staying Awake
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Flu-like symptoms

Transferred by:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Close Contact

Diagnosed by:

  • Doctor exam
  • Spinal tap
  • Blood tests
  • CT scan
  • MRI

Treatment for Bacterial Meningitis:

  • Treated in a hospital
  • Antibiotics

Treatment for Viral Meningitis:

  • Can be treated at home
  • Lots of fluids
  • Medicine for fever and pain


  • Standard childhood immunizations
  • The meningococcal vaccine is a shot to prevent bacterial meningitis

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