Is Spinal Meningitis Contagious?

Spinal meningitis is a condition where the membrane that covers the spinal cord and the brain is inflamed. There are two major types of meningitis and both this types can be contagious or it can develop into another condition.

Types of Spinal Meningitis

Bacterial Meningitis. This type of meningitis can be contagious and the bacteria are usually spread from one person to another through coughing, kissing or even inhaling the air of an infected person. Bacterial meningitis is uncommon but it can be very serious and can cause brain damage and even in rare cases – death. That is why early diagnosis and early treatment of anti-biotic is vital. Also there is a vaccination that is available for this type of meningitis.

Viral Meningitis. This type of meningitis is contagious and is widespread during early fall and late summer. This is just a mild condition that often affects children as well as young adults. This condition can be spread from one individual to another by contact or from stools of an infected person. The virus can stay alive for several days in objects that an infected person may have touched, coughed or sneezed on. If anyone in your household has meningitis, your physician might prescribed an anti-biotic to everyone in the home to prevent then from getting infected as well (Centers for Disease Control).

Treatment for viral meningitis is not specific. Most of the patients recover on their own and recovery time is usually two weeks. Antibiotics cannot help with viral infection so physician often recommends the patient to have complete bed rest, medicine to relieve headache as well as fever and of course intake of plenty of fluids. For more severe cases or with individuals who has low immune system, hospital stay may be necessary.

Symptoms of Spinal Meningitis

The most common symptoms of meningitis for individuals over the age two years are stiff neck, headache and a high fever. Symptoms may develop in just several hours or may develop in one to two days. Other symptoms may include sleepiness, confusion, vomiting and nausea. In infants or newborns, the usual symptoms are headache, fever and neck stiffness which is difficult to detect. Infants who are affected with spinal meningitis may be inactive, feeds poorly, irritable and vomits. As the condition progress, patients may experience seizures.

Treatment of spinal meningitis depends on whether you are affected with bacterial or viral meningitis. Bacterial meningitis can be treated with anti-biotic but viral meningitis cannot be treated with anti-biotic. Most viral meningitis goes away on its own although one needs to have bed rest, medications for symptoms and plenty of fluid.