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Meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. The inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. There are 5 "types" of meningitis; viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic and non-infectious. Meningitis may develop in response to a number of causes, usually bacteria or viruses, but meningitis can also be caused by physical injury, cancer or certain drugs. The severity of illness and the treatment for meningitis differ depending on the cause. Thus, it is important to know the specific cause of meningitis. Meningitis infection presents with one or more of the following signs and symptoms: fever, headache, stiff neck, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. It is important to contact your health care provider if you develop these signs of infection.

Read more about meningitis. (CDC)

Vaccines to prevent Meningitis

The most effective way to protect yourself and your children is to complete the recommended vaccine schedule. Several types of meningitis can be prevented by immunizations.

Viral Meningitis
  • About Meningococcal Disease

    Meningococcal disease refers to meningitis and bloodstream infections caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. It is spread by close contact with individuals that have the disease or those who are not ill yet carry the bacteria. A vaccine against four common types of the meningococcal bacteria is recommended routinely for 11-12 year olds, adolescents entering high school or 15 years of age, college freshman living in dorms, and other high-risk persons.

  • About Pneumococcal Disease

    The bacterium, Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, is the cause of acute bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, meningitis, and middle ear infections. Pneumococcal disease is spread by close contact with persons who are ill or who carry the bacteria in their nose or throat. Vaccines are available that target the more common types of pneumococcal bacteria; these vaccines are recommended to prevent pneumococcal infections in infants and young children, the elderly, and other persons at high-risk for the disease.

  • About Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

    This is a bacteria that causes serious disease. Hib disease usually strikes children under 5 years old. Children can get Hib disease by being around other children or adults who may not show any symptoms. Hib is one cause of meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Before the Hib vaccine was introduced, Hib disease was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children under 5 years old in the United States. Meningitis can lead to lasting brain damage and deafness. Hib disease can also cause:

    • pneumonia
    • severe swelling in the throat, making it hard to breathe
    • infections of the blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart
    • death

    Before Hib vaccine, about 20,000 children in the United States under 5 years old got severe Hib disease each year and nearly 1,000 people died. The Hib vaccine protects children against Hib disease. Infants need four doses of Hib vaccine by age 1.

  • About Viral Meningitis

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