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Viral Meningitis: A Quick Background On The Neurological Disease

Viral Meningitis: A Quick Background On The Neurological Disease

Viral meningitis is an infectious disease that mainly targets the brain and spinal cord. Viral infections are the usual cause of this disease. In rare cases, parasitic infections cause viral meningitis. Viral meningitis is usually a mild disease and can easily be treated. Some people can get better even without going through treatment. On the other hand, bacterial meningitis may be more severe, and cause more serious complications.

If one exhibits the symptoms of meningitis, they must have themselves checked in a hospital. This is in order to identify the type of meningitis they have.

Viral Meningitis Causes

Enteroviruses are the common cause of viral meningitis. People contract these viruses through direct contact with infected surfaces or objects.

Once a virus enters a human’s body through the mouth, it will eventually reach the brain and cause inflammation. Once the virus reaches the tissues that surround the brain, they begin to multiply. This is where this disease develops.

Non-polio enterovirus is an enterovirus infection that is usually mild. People that have this may exhibit symptoms similar to a common cold. Some do not get sick at all. Non-polio enteroviruses are commonly found in young people such as infants, children, and teenagers.

Here are other viruses that can cause viral meningitis:

  • Mumps
  • Herpes virus infection
  • Influenza virus
  • Measles virus
  • Arboviruses such as West Nile virus. Blood-feeding arthropods transmit arboviruses.
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. This is a common cause of neurological disease. People get infected with this virus when they come in contact with wild mice stool.

Viral Meningitis Symptoms

The symptoms vary depending on the age of a person:

Symptoms in infants

  • Becoming irritable
  • Fever
  • Little to no appetite
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Becoming lethargic

Symptoms in children and adults

  • Fever
  • Feelings of fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Signs of irritability
  • Becoming lethargic
  • Stiffness in their necks
  • Eyes will start to become sensitive to light
  • The person will start to have difficulty in concentrating
  • Sleepiness

Once you feel these symptoms, visit the hospital right away. A person cannot tell the difference between viral and bacterial meningitis since the symptoms for both diseases are similar. A doctor will identify what kind of meningitis a person has.

What are the Treatments for Viral Meningitis?

There are no specific treatments for viral meningitis since this viral infection goes away on its own after a period of time. Usually the duration is 7 to 10 days, but it may vary from person to person. People may choose to get treatment in order to alleviate the symptoms.

Treatments and procedures that doctors may suggest for patients with this disease include:

  • Acyclovir. This is a drug that treats various viral infections.
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap). This helps doctors identify what type of illness a person has. It may also help treat particular conditions.

Taking antibiotics is not recommended for viral meningitis. However, this may be helpful for people diagnosed with bacterial meningitis as it has the ability to fight off bacteria.

Key Takeaway

Once you feel symptoms of meningitis, consult a doctor immediately. Doctors will identify what type of meningitis a person has. Once the diagnosis is clear, the doctors will be able to provide the appropriate medications and treatment.

Being diagnosed with viral meningitis will not pose a threat to a person’s life. This viral infection is mild and people will be able to recover from this with little to no help from treatments.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases here.

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


Accessed February 10, 2021 


Causes of viral meningitis , https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html

Accessed February 10, 2021


Symptoms of viral meningitis, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/meningitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350508

Accessed February 10, 2021 


Treatments for viral meningitis, https://www.meningitis.org/meningitis/causes/viral-meningitis

Accessed February 10, 2021


Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4256959/

Accessed February 10, 2021 


Non-polio enterovirus , https://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/symptoms.html

Accessed February 10, 2021

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Written by Jen Mallari Updated Apr 15, 2021
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel