The most common symptoms of either form of
Severe and persistent
Stiff and painful neck, especially when trying to touch
the chin to the chest.
decreased level of consciousness.
Less common symptoms include:
Sluggishness, muscle aches and weakness, and
strange feelings (such as tingling) or weakness throughout the
Eye sensitivity and eye pain from bright
Babies, young children, older adults, and
people with other medical conditions may not have the usual symptoms of
In babies, the signs of meningitis may be a
fever, irritability that is difficult to calm, decreased appetite, rash,
vomiting, and a shrill cry. Babies also may have a stiff body and bulging soft
spots on the head that aren't caused by crying. Babies with meningitis may
cry when handled.
Young children with meningitis may act like they
flu (influenza), cough, or have trouble
Older adults and people with other medical conditions
may have only a slight headache and fever. They may not feel well and may have
Other conditions with symptoms similar
to meningitis include
viral hepatitis and flu.