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Viral Meningitis

Definition

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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Causes

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

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

Diagnosis

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

Treatment includes:

Prevention

To reduce your chance of a viral infection:

RESOURCES

Meningitis Foundation of America http://www.musa.org

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References

Enteroviral meningitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 7, 2012. Accessed August 27, 2014.

Viral meningitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html. Updated April 1, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.

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