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Viral meningitis: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The meninges are the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord; when they become inflamed, the patient develops a condition known as meningitis. This disease is caused by the contagion of a virus that causes inflammation, a condition known as viral meningitis, or by a bacterium. One suffers from bacterial meningitis, a less common but more dangerous pathology. The disease of viral origin is prevalent. Although the symptoms can be annoying, it is a condition that is not dangerous and usually remits on its own about a week after the appearance of the signs. In this FastlyHealarticle, we detail viral meningitis’s causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Contagion of viral meningitis

As its name indicates, viral meningitis is produced by various viral infections that usually enter our body through the mouth or by contact with infected fluids. Once they reach the bloodstream, they can cause inflammation of the meninges and an annoying picture that this condition entails.

The viruses that cause the most cases of meningitis are:

  • Enteroviruses can also cause intestinal or respiratory diseases.
  • Herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus, or genital herpes virus.
  • Mumps.
  • Measles.
  • The bite of infected mosquitoes transmits the West Nile virus.

Depending on the type of virus involved, symptoms may vary. However, they usually appear a week after infection.

Symptoms of viral meningitis

Viral meningitis appears suddenly, and although its symptoms can be bothersome, this condition does not represent a greater danger to the patient than bacterial meningitis, which can leave serious irreversible sequelae and even compromise the patient’s life.

The most common symptoms of viral meningitis are:

  • Sudden fever
  • Intense headache.
  • Neck stiffness.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Apathy and lack of appetite.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Depending on the virus that causes this disease, diarrhea, vomiting, and respiratory problems may also occur.

Since the symptoms of viral meningitis, a condition that does not have significant repercussions, and bacterial meningitis, which can leave severe sequelae and be fatal, are very similar, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible to determine which of these conditions it is about.

Different tests can be performed to diagnose this condition and define which type is suffered. Still, the most common and decisive test is the lumbar puncture, which allows obtaining fluid from the spinal cord to analyze it. Tests can then be done to determine the type of virus that has caused the condition.


Viral meningitis does not have a specific treatment, and symptoms usually disappear between 1 week and ten days after onset without causing significant problems. Certain antivirals may be prescribed for patients suffering from this condition due to the herpes virus to help lessen its impact.

The specialist may also prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of this condition and improve the patient’s condition. Rest and proper hydration to reduce fever is essential for a speedy recovery.

Prevention of viral meningitis

Because various viruses cause this disease, preventing it is not always an easy task however some recommendations can be followed, such as:

  • Be vaccinated against viruses such as mumps or chickenpox, which can cause meningitis.
  • Wash your hands very well after using the bathroom or handling feces, for example, when changing a diaper.
  • Wash food very well and cook it properly before consuming it.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as glasses, cutlery, toothbrushes, etc.
  • Maintain proper cleaning at home, especially in sensitive areas such as the kitchen, dining room, or bathroom.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Viral Meningitis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment , we recommend that you enter our Brain and Nerves category .

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