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Meningitis is an infection of the meninges (protective membranes) that surround the brain and spinal cord. It can be bacterial or viral.
Symptoms of meningitis
Meningitis should be treated as a medical emergency because bacterial meningitis can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can be fatal.
Causes of meningitis
Meningitis can be caused by bacteria or a virus. This is known as either bacterial meningitis or viral meningitis.
Diagnosing meningitis
Meningitis is difficult to diagnose. It usually comes on suddenly and can be easily confused with flu, as many of their symptoms are the same.
Treating meningitis
People with suspected meningitis or septicaemia (blood poisoning) need to be admitted to hospital immediately, wherever they are.
Complications of meningitis
Bacterial meningitis can place tremendous strain on the body and the brain. Complications are more likely with severe infections.
Meningitis vaccination
There are a number of vaccines that can prevent most cases of viral and bacterial meningitis, including the MMR, Men C, DTaP/IPV/Hib and PCV vaccinations.
'Courtney's condition didn't just suddenly improve after two weeks. It still affects her four years on'
Tracey Chambers' daughter Courtney was diagnosed with meningitis septicaemia four years ago. She talks about the short-term and long-term effects of Courtney's illness.
'They told us to prepare for the worst'
Mary Baron and her family were enjoying a holiday on Tenerife 10 years ago when tragedy struck – her three-year-old grandson Kyle caught bacterial meningitis.
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See what your doctor sees, find out what is happening with your Meningitis treatment and what the next steps might be.