PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET
What is Viral Meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Many different viruses can cause viral meningitis, sometimes referred to as aseptic meningitis.
How is it spread?
Viral meningitis is caused by a number of different viruses, many of which are transmitted through the respiratory route by coughing and sneezing, or shed in the stool and spread through fecal-oral contamination. Viral meningitis can also arise as a complication of many common viral disorders like chickenpox or certain diarrheal illnesses.
How is it treated?
There is no specific therapy for viral meningitis.
How can we prevent Viral Meningitis?
- Practice good hygiene and always wash your hands after going to the toilet and before preparing food.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- Avoid sharing eating utensils or other objects.
- Be sure to have your child appropriately immunized against the vaccine-preventable diseases (measles, mumps, rubella, polio), many of which can cause meningitis.
SYMPTOMS OF VIRAL MENINGITIS
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck and back
- Sudden fever
- Sometimes a rash
- Discomfort looking into bright lights