Infectious Diseases: Viral Meningitis



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Symptoms

Fever, headache, neck pain or stiffness, pain when looking at bright lights, nausea, vomiting poor appetite, tiredness and sleepiness. May infect other parts of the body and cause skin rash, runny nose, sore throat, earache, cough, difficulty breathing and diarrhea. If your child develops these symptoms, see your child’s doctor as soon as possible.

Cause

A virus that causes swelling of the lining of the brain. Diagnosed by analyzing a special body fluid taken during a procedure called a spinal tap. The doctor will confirm whether the infection was caused by a virus or bacteria. Bacterial meningitis is much more serious.

Treatment

There is no treatment that cures viral meningitis, and children recover on their own in about one or two weeks. The doctor will only hospitalize your child if he is quite sick from the infection. If your child has bacterial meningitis (which is much more serious), your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

Transmission/Prevention

The germs are in the saliva and secretions of the nose. Close contact between children is required for the spread of these germs. It occurs most often in children less than 2 years of age.

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