Meningitis occurs when the membranes, which cover the brain as well as the spinal cord is inflamed. No wonder this disease is sometimes referred to as spinal meningitis. Now meningitis can be brought about by a bacterial or viral infection. And viral meningitis, which is known also as aseptic meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis, but less serious. Although anybody can contact viral meningitis, it is, nevertheless, more common with children. In addition, this disease is serious, but not fatal in most cases if the patients involved possess regular immune systems. Viral meningitis usually is not connected with septicemia.
Various viral infections could result in viral meningitis. However, most instances of this disease that occur in the U.S. especially in the summer time as well as the fall months are brought about by enteroviruses (this includes enteroviruses, echoviruses, and coxsackieviruses). Most of the people who have been infected with enteroviruses do not have symptoms or only just get a cold, low-grade fever, rash, et al. And it is only a few of these people that eventually develop meningitis. Also, viral infections such as mumps, influenza, measles, and herpesvirus (like Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus, herpes simplex viruses) can cause meningitis.
It is possible for symptoms of this condition to appear quickly, but it might equally take many days for this to come on. This is often after a cold, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. the symptoms present in grown-ups might differ from that found with children. Possible symptoms that infants usually have include: fever, poor eating, irritability and difficulty in waking them up. On the other hand, with older children as well as with adults the following symptoms will often be present, they are: severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, loss of appetite, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, etc.
Is viral meningitis contagious? Well, the enteroviruses that cause most or many cases of this condition are contagious. Luckily, most of the people who are exposed to enteroviruses or these viruses will experience moderate or no symptoms at all. Most of us are exposed to them at one point or the other in our lives. Nevertheless, it is only one person in every one thousand people that will eventually have meningitis. For viral meningitis to be diagnosed laboratory tests will often be conducted. Such tests will involve testing the spinal fluid of the patient. This will reveal whether the patient has viral infection. Sometimes the particular cause of this type of meningitis may be identified through tests which show the actual virus that infected the patient, although identifying the actual culprit might be challenging.
Okay, so are people with viral meningitis contagious? Being around people that have viral meningitis may predispose you to having the virus that made such people ill. However, there is just a little chance of you developing meningitis as a result of this. And since many of the cases of viral meningitis occur through enteroviruses, which are passed in stool, people with this condition are advised to wash their hands thoroughly after making use of the toilet.