Munson Health
 
Viral Meningitis

Back to Document

by Alan R
 

Causes

Viral meningitis may be caused by several viruses. Examples include:
Viruses can be spread in numerous ways including:
  • Contact with fluids from the cough or sneeze of an infected person
  • Contact with feces from an infected person
  • Close personal contact with someone who is sick
  • Through insect bites
 

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will focus on the nervous system.
To help rule out other causes of the inflammation, such as a tumor, your doctor may need pictures of the brain, spine, and skull. These pictures can be created with:
Viral meningitis has similar symptoms as bacterial meningitis. To make sure you do not have bacterial meningitis, the following tests of your bodily fluids may be done:
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Sputum tests
  • Lumbar puncture—to evaluate cerebralspinal fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain
  • Tests of pus from skin infections
 

Prevention

To reduce your chance of a viral infection:
  • Wash your hands often, especially:
    • If you are in close contact with an infected person
    • After you change the diaper of an infected infant
  • Regularly wash objects and surfaces touched by children. Use a diluted bleach solution.
  • Ask your doctor about appropriate vaccinations, especially if you've never had measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox.
  • To prevent infections spread by mosquito bites:
    • Follow public health recommendations for reducing mosquitoes near your home.
    • Take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Use insect repellent and appropriate clothing when outdoors.
    • Avoid areas or being outside when mosquitoes are prevalent.
  • If you are contemplating a pregnancy:
    • Be sure you are protected from common diseases like chickenpox. Ask your doctor about recommended vaccinations.
    • Avoid all contact with rodents during pregnancy.
 

RESOURCES

Meningitis Foundation of America
http://www.musa.org

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

 

References


Enteroviral meningitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 7, 2012. Accessed August 27, 2014.


Viral meningitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html. Updated April 1, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.

 

Revision Information