Brad Pitt Has Mild Viral Meningitis
The Actor Is at Home and Doing Well, Publicist Says
July 14, 2005 -- Actor Brad Pitt is recovering from a mild case of meningitis, says publicist Cindy Guagenti in an Associated Press news report. He is at home and doing well, she says.
Pitt reportedly checked himself into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Monday night for flu-like symptoms. He went home on Wednesday afternoon, Guagenti says.
Pitt was in Ethiopia last week. However, he may not have contracted the disease there. The source of his illness has not been disclosed.
The CDC provides the following information on viral meningitis:
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an illness in which there is inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord. Viral or "aseptic" meningitis, which is the most common type, is caused by an infection with one of several types of viruses. Meningitis can also be caused by infections with several types of bacteria or fungi. In the U.S., there are between 25,000 and 50,000 hospitalizations due to viral meningitis each year.
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
The more common symptoms of meningitis are fever, severe headache, stiff neck, bright lights hurting the eyes, drowsiness or confusion, and nausea and vomiting. In babies, the symptoms are more difficult to identify. They may include fever, fretfulness or irritability, difficulty in awakening the baby, or the baby refuses to eat. The symptoms of meningitis may not be the same for every person.
Is viral meningitis a serious disease?
Viral ("aseptic") meningitis is serious but rarely fatal in persons with normal immune systems. Usually, the symptoms last from seven to 10 days and the patient recovers completely. Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, can be very serious and result in disability or death if not treated promptly. Often, the symptoms of viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis are the same. For this reason, if you think you or your child has meningitis, see your doctor as soon as possible.
What causes viral meningitis?
Many different viruses can cause meningitis. About 90% of cases of viral meningitis are caused by members of a group of viruses known as enteroviruses, such as coxsackieviruses and echoviruses. These viruses are more common during summer and fall months. Herpesviruses and the mumps virus can also cause viral meningitis.
How is viral meningitis diagnosed?
Viral meningitis is usually diagnosed by laboratory tests of spinal fluid obtained with a spinal tap. The specific cause of viral meningitis can be determined by tests that identify the virus in specimens collected from the patient, but these tests are rarely done.
How is viral meningitis treated?
No specific treatment for viral meningitis exists at this time. Most patients completely recover on their own. Doctors often will recommend bed rest, plenty of fluids, and medicine to relieve fever and headache.