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What is meningitis?

ANSWER

Meningitis is an inflammation and swelling of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called meninges. Meningitis is most often caused by an infection. This disease can be fatal or cause serious lasting side effects.

SOURCES:

Nemours Foundation: "Meningitis."

Meningitis Foundation of America: "Top 20 Questions About Meningitis."

NINDS: "Meningitis and Encephalitis Fact Sheet."

CDC: "Meningococcal Disease."

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli on August 11, 2017

SOURCES:

Nemours Foundation: "Meningitis."

Meningitis Foundation of America: "Top 20 Questions About Meningitis."

NINDS: "Meningitis and Encephalitis Fact Sheet."

CDC: "Meningococcal Disease."

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli on August 11, 2017

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What causes meningitis?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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