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Is There a Connection Between Meningitis and COVID-19?

Is There a Connection Between Meningitis and COVID-19?

People from around the globe are gravely concerned with the COVID-19 virus. Some have speculated that there is a relationship between neurological problems like meningitis, and COVID-19.

Health professionals are continuously studying this issue. So far, these are the data gathered with regards to a possible connection between these diseases:

Meningitis and COVID-19: Current findings

1. There is no proof that meningitis puts a person at greater risk for COVID-19

According to health professionals, there is no research that proves that patients with meningitis are more prone to being afflicted with COVID-19. Similarly, there is no proof that meningitis sufferers may have worse COVID symptoms than those who have not had meningitis.

There have been millions of COVID cases worldwide and there have only been a few cases of patients contracting both diseases simultaneously. Therefore, these types of scenarios are quite rare.

In terms of COVID causing meningitis, doctors have only speculated that people may be afflicted with meningitis after being diagnosed with COVID-19 because of a weakened immune system. This makes people more susceptible to catching other diseases, and meningitis is one of those.

2. COVID patients may exhibit meningitis symptoms and vice-versa

Although rare, there have been reports of cases in which patients have developed meningitis symptoms while diagnosed with COVID-19.

Apart from exhibiting common COVID-19 symptoms such as fever or chills, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue, some people also developed symptoms that can only be seen in people diagnosed with meningitis. This has become a cause for concern for doctors since it is possible for some people to experience neurological problems while being diagnosed with COVID-19.

There are also cases when the opposite has happened. There is a report of a 21-year-old patient who initially experienced meningitis symptoms such as stiffness of the neck, fever, and frontal headaches. It was only later that he was also found to have COVID-19

Safety Tips: Can You Get COVID-19 in Restaurants?

3. There are case reports of patients being diagnosed with both diseases

There have been a handful of cases in which patients were diagnosed with both COVID-19 and meningitis, as in the case of the 21-year-old patient.

In addition, in March 2020, there was a young girl that was diagnosed with COVID and meningitis at the same time. Prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19, the girl felt meningitis symptoms such as a headache. Another case is that of a a little boy from Arkansas who was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and COVID-19.

However, recorded cases remain rare.

4. The bacteria that causes meningitis can cause sepsis

The following bacteria are among those that cause bacterial meningitis, a dangerous form of meningitis:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Group B Streptococcus
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Listeria monocytogenes

These bacteria are also connected to septicaemia, also known as sepsis. Sepsis causes organ failure, damage to tissues, and even death.

People who are recovering from sepsis may be at higher risk of more severe sickness if they catch COVID.

However, if the patient has recovered from sepsis and and has not experienced further problems with immunity, they are likely to suffer only mild COVID symptoms in case they become infected.

5. Immunizations is important to fight both diseases

People must not neglect getting their vaccinations as this will ultimately be the thing that protects them from both COVID-19 and meningitis.

Key Takeaway

There is not yet enough research to determine that patients who have been diagnosed with meningitis are more at risk of contracting COVID-19. It is an ongoing concern that is being looked into by health professionals.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Symptoms of COVID-19, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

Accessed February 12, 2021

 

FAQs on COVID-19 and meningitis, https://www.meningitisnow.org/meningitis-explained/what-is-meningitis/faqs-covid-19-and-meningitis/

Accessed February 12, 2021

 

5 Things You May Not Know About Meningitis, https://www.nfid.org/2020/04/24/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-meningitis/

Accessed February 12, 2021 

 

Meningitis as an Initial Presentation of COVID-19: A Case Report, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2020.00474/full

Accessed February 12, 2021 

 

Bacterial Meningitis, https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html

Accessed April 15, 2021

 

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Written by Jen Mallari on Apr 15
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