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- Viral infection due to:
- Parasitic infection, such as Lyme disease
- Mycoplasma, an usual bacteria that can cause pneumonia
- Bacterial meningitis that has not been fully treated
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, sarcoidosis , and Behcet’s disease
- Cancer that has spread to the meninges
- Infection near the spinal cord or brain
- Certain medicines, such as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- 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
- Being a child or teenager—affects children and teens more often than adults
- Taking certain medicines, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- 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 —also called a spinal tap
- 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.
Medicine—If specific causes of meningitis are suspected, your doctor may advise that you take:
- Antiviral medicine—to treat a viral infection
- Antibiotics—to treat infections
- Antifungal medicine
- Pain medication, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- 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.
Aseptic Meningitis.org http://asepticmeningitis.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
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/what.php . Updated September 4, 2012. Accessed June 25, 2013.
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 Mar;22(3):215-26.
Meningococcal disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/index.html . Updated March 15, 2012. Accessed June 25, 2013.
Norris C, Danis P, Gardner T. Aseptic meningitis in the newborn and young infant. Am Fam Physician . 1999;59(10):2761-2770.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013
- Update Date: 06/24/2013