Symptoms of Meningitis


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General information about symptoms of Meningitis: The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible symptoms of Meningitis. This symptom information has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of symptoms of Meningitis. Furthermore, symptoms of Meningitis may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of symptoms and whether they are indeed symptoms of Meningitis.

List of symptoms of Meningitis: The list of symptoms mentioned in various sources for Meningitis includes:

Symptoms of Meningitis: Symptoms, which may appear suddenly, often include high fever, severe and persistent headache, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting. Changes in behavior such as confusion, sleepiness, and difficulty waking up are extremely important symptoms and may require emergency treatment. In infants symptoms of meningitis may include irritability or tiredness, poor feeding and fever. 1

High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect, and the infant may only appear slow or inactive, or be irritable, have vomiting, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures.2

The symptoms of meningitis may not be the same for every person.  The more common symptoms are fever, severe headache, stiff neck, bright lights hurt the eyes, drowsiness or confusion, and nausea and vomiting. In babies, the symptoms are more difficult to identify.  They may include fever, fretfulness or irritability, difficulty in awakening the baby, or the baby refuses to eat. 3

Meningitis and encphalitis headaches are caused by infections of meninges-the brain's outer covering-and in encephalitis, inflammation of the brain itself. 4

More symptoms of Meningitis: In addition to the above information, to get a full picture of the possible symptoms of this condition and its related conditions, it may be necessary to examine symptoms that may be caused by complications of Meningitis, underlying causes of Meningitis, associated conditions for Meningitis, risk factors for Meningitis, or other related conditions.

Medical articles on symptoms: These general reference articles may be of interest:



Footnotes:
1. excerpt from NINDS Encephalitis and Meningitis Information Page: NINDS
2. excerpt from Meningococcal Disease (General): DBMD
3. excerpt from Viral (Aseptic) Meningitis: DVRD
4. excerpt from Headache - Hope Through Research: NINDS

Last revision: June 2, 2003

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