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Category: Science and Technology

Date Submitted: 11/19/2012 02:05 PM

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* An inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges

* More common in people whose bodies have trouble fighting infections

* Most viral meningitis cases in the United States, especially during the summer months, are caused by enteroviruses; however, only a small number of people with enterovirus infections actually develop meningitis.

* Infants younger than 1 month old and people whose immune systems are weak are at higher risk for severe infection

* People who are around someone with viral meningitis have a chance of becoming infected with the virus that made that person sick, but they are not likely to develop meningitis as a complication of the illness.

* Factors that can increase your risk of viral meningitis include:

* Age

* Viral meningitis occurs mostly in children younger than age 5.

* Weakened immune system.

* There are certain diseases, medications and surgical procedures that may weaken the immune system and increase risk of meningitis.

* Enteroviruses, the most common cause of viral meningitis, are most often spread from person to person through fecal contamination (which can occur when changing a diaper or using the toilet and not properly washing hands afterwards)

* Enteroviruses can also be spread through respiratory secretions (saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) of an infected person.

* Meningitis infection is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

* Nausea

* Vomiting

* Photophobia (sensitivity to light)

* Altered mental status

* Enteroviruses, the most common cause of viral meningitis, appear most often during the summer and fall in temperate climates.

* Viral meningitis can affect babies, children, and adults. It is usually less severe than bacterial meningitis and normally clears up without specific...