Viral MeningitisViral meningitis, also known as Aseptic meningitis, is the most common type of infectious meningitis in the United States. Neonates, infants, and adults are all at risk of contracting viral meningitis.
Viral meningitis is rarely fatal, but can be debilitating. Some people only feel the symptoms for 7-10 days while others for 3-4 months, which can lead to hospitalization and prolonged absence of school or work. Enteroviruses, the most common type of viral meningitis, occur during the summer and fall. Although enterovirus exposure is high, less than 1 out of 1000 infections become viral meningitis, so there's a moderate chance of becoming infected with the virus but not with meningitis.
Viral meningitis is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (kissing, coughing, sneezing, and sharing a cup, utensil, lip gloss, or cigarette). Viral meningitis is also found in one's stool, which is how infants and neonates who aren't toilet trained and adults changing diapers develop it. Herpes simplex and genital herpes can cause viral meningitis in infants and neonates and chicken pox, rabies and HIV can develop it in all ages.
The incubation period is 3-7 days from the time of infection until the development of symptoms, therefore, the virus can be spread 3 days after infection until 10 days after the development of symptoms. Risk factors for development are exposure to someone with a recent viral infection or children in a day care facility or having a suppress immune system.
There is no current vaccine available to prevent anyone from developing viral meningitis. A majority of those with enteroviruses aren't symptomatic, so it's tough to prevent the spread of viral meningitis. The best protection against viral meningitis is washing hands thoroughly and frequently.
- Fever (below normal)
- Stiff neck
- Sensitive to light
Common symptoms such as fevers, headaches, and stiff necks can be tough to detect or might not even occur in neonates and infants. MFA urges anyone with these symptoms to seek medical attention immediately!
All types of meningitis are diagnosed by growing bacteria from a sample of the infected person's spinal fluid, which is collected by performing a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). Results show whether or not the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) has increased white blood cells. Blood tests are also conducted to determine whether or not there is a significant increase or decrease in the white blood cell count.
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for viral meningitis at this time. Medical Doctors recommend plenty of rest, relaxation, fluids, and medicine to relieve a fever or headache.