Meningitis is a term used to describe an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain or the spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis is a potentially life-threatening condition that can rapidly progress to permanent brain damage, hearing loss, and neurologic problems. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, and mental disorientation. The highest incidence of meningitis is between birth and 2 years. The childhood Hib, meningococcal, pneumococcal, MMR, and varicella vaccines prevent many of the diseases that lead to meningitis, and there is a meningitis vaccine that is recommended for teens. Viral meningitis is less serious than bacterial meningitis; it shares symptoms with the common flu and can be treated at home. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how meningitis is contracted, its symptoms, how it is prevented, treated, and much more.
Symptoms of Meningitis
Learn the symptoms of meningitis in children and adults, and find out when you should call the doctor.
How to Prevent Meningitis
Find out how vaccines and some commonsense steps like hand-washing can help protect you and your family from meningitis.
What Is Meningitis?
Learn about the brain disease called meningitis and find out what causes it.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Meningitis
Find out about the tests and treatments your teen may need if he has bacterial, viral, or fungal meningitis.