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What is viral meningitis?

ANSWER

Viral meningitis is more common and usually less serious. It tends to occur more often in the summer and fall. Because of its flu-like symptoms, many people mistake it for the flu. Viruses that cause "stomach flu" are a cause of viral meningitis, but most people who have these infections don't develop meningitis. Others viruses that lead to meningitis are those that cause chickenpox, mononucleosis (mono), and herpes. Symptoms can be similar to those of bacterial meningitis.

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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Who is at risk for 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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