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September 22, 2015 - Meningitis Information

Viral Meningitis
Causes: Most by non-polio enteroviruses. Other viruses that can cause viral meningitis are mumps, measles, chickenpox and influenza.
Is it contagious? Viral meningitis itself is not contagious, but the viruses that cause it are. Because different viruses cause it, it can be spread in different ways such as coughing, sneezing, improper hand washing, and sharing utensils with an infected person.
Is there a vaccine? There is no specific vaccine to protect against non-polio enteroviruses, which are the most common cause of viral meningitis, but some vaccinations can protect against diseases such as measles, mumps, chickenpox, and influenza, that can lead to viral meningitis. Influenza vaccine is being offered at your child’s school this fall.
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Red rash
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
Bacterial Meningitis
Causes: There are several causes of bacterial meningitis, and one of them is Group B Strep. People who develop bacterial meningitis from Group B Strep are not contagious to others. Other causes of bacterial meningitis include Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Listeria monocytogenes, and Neisseria meningitidis.
Is it contagious? Most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as viruses that cause the common cold or the flu. It is spread through saliva or mucus, so it’s transmitted by kissing or sharing eating utensils, or being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person.
Is a vaccine available? Several vaccines are available to protect against bacterial meningitis and its causes. Hib and pneumococcal vaccines protect against bacterial meningitis causes, and is a routine childhood vaccine. The meninigococcal vaccine is recommended for adolescents age 11-12 with a booster dose at age 16.
Symptoms: The same as viral meningitis listed above and can include sensitivity to light and confusion.
**If you or your child develops symptoms of either type, call your health care provider right away.

How can I stop the spread of both types of meningitis?
You can prevent the spread of viral meningitis by proper hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, thorough cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, and vaccination for causes of meningitis.

Call Oconto County Public Health at 920-834-7000 for more information.