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Moms on Meningitis (M.O.M.s) Online Resource Panel

How do you contract viral meningitis? What does it do to babies and adults? What can you do against it? After how long that you contracted it does it show? Please reply.Many thanks

Jane Hession responds:

As its name suggests, viral meningitis is caused by one of several viruses. According to the CDC, these viruses are contagious and can be transmitted from person to person. Symptoms usually develop 3 to 7 days after a person becomes infected. Most people who become infected with the virus do not develop meningitis. If you do come into contact with someone who has viral meningitis, hand washing and cleaning contaminated surfaces can reduce your chance of becoming infected. No specific treatment for viral meningitis exists and most patients recover on their own.

But it is important to know that bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, is a very serious and sometimes deadly disease for which immediate treatment is critically important. Symptoms of viral and bacterial meningitis can be similar. For that reason if you think you or your child might have meningitis, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible.

You should also know that, unlike viral meningitis, there are vaccines available to help protect against bacterial meningitis. I lost my son to a type of bacterial meningitis, called meningococcal disease. The CDC recommends meningococcal immunization for all adolescents 11 through 18 years of age and college freshmen living in dormitories. For more information on meningococcal disease, click here: http://www.nmaus.org/meningitis.