Meningitis is a serious condition caused by inflammation of the fluid and membranes (meninges) that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is typically caused by a viral infection but can also be the result of bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections.
Although some cases of meningitis may improve without treatment within a few weeks, others can lead to serious complications and even be life-threatening, requiring immediate medical care in the form of emergency antibiotic treatment.
Early meningitis symptoms are often similar to that of the flu, developing over several hours or a few days. These signs and symptoms include:
- Severe headache with nausea or vomiting
- Stiff neck
- Sudden high fever
- Confusion or difficulty concentrating
- A lack of appetite or thirst
- Skin rash
- Sleepiness or difficulty waking
- Sensitivity to light