Meningitis results from the inflammation of the meninges (the thin membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord). It is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Most cases of meningitis are viral, but it can be hard to pinpoint without invasive testing. It is extremely important to determine the type of infection (and bacteria), because bacterial meningitis tends to be much more serious and requires emergency treatment.

Viral meningitis usually clears up on its own and does not cause any permanent damage. Bacterial meningitis can cause brain damage, learning disabilities, hearing loss, or even death without treatment for the specific type of bacteria. Rarely, meningitis can be caused by fungal infections (cryptococcus).

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Review Date: 3/23/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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