The Five Types of Meningitis

Types of Meningitis

Viral meningitis is the most common and usually goes away without any specific treatment. Bacterial meningitis is another type of this disease; it is rather contagious, dangerous, and even fatal if left untreated. This type is caused by infection from particular bacteria (Lights, 2019). The third type, fungal meningitis, is more common among persons with a weakened immune system, including patients with HIV or cancer. Parasitic meningitis is another type that is less common than other ones and can be caused by parasites found on some food and animals or in dirt and feces (Lights, 2019). Finally, non-infectious meningitis is caused by other medical treatments or conditions, including certain medications, cancer, brain surgery, a head injury, and lupus.

The Causes of Meningitis

The most typical causes of meningitis are viral and bacterial infections, but all five types of this disease have slightly different causes. Ultimately, they all act in the same way: “a bacterium, fungus, virus, or parasite spreads through the bloodstream until it reaches the brain, or spinal cord” (Lights, 2019, para. 13). When it finally sets up in these vital body parts’ fluids or lining, it develops into a more advanced infection. As for non-infectious meningitis, it results from a certain condition, for example, a physical injury.

Signs and Symptoms

It usually takes symptoms several hours or days to develop. Possible signs of meningitis include skin rash, sudden high fever, no appetite, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, difficulty waking or concentrating, seizures, confusion, severe headaches with vomiting or nausea, and stiff neck (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019). Infants and newborns may show different symptoms, such as poor feeding, sluggishness or inactivity, excessive irritability or sleepiness, and constant crying.

Prevention and Treatment

There are some easy steps that may help prevent meningitis. For example, people need to wash their hands, practice good hygiene, stay healthy and cover their mouths (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019). Pregnant women should be especially careful with food; for instance, it is recommended that they avoid cheeses made from unpasteurized milk (Lights, 2019). It may be possible to prevent this disease with vaccinations. As for treatment, some types of meningitis require immediate hospitalization and are treated with intravenous antibiotics or antifungal agents. Researchers note that “parasitic meningitis may either involve treating just the symptoms or attempting to treat the infection directly” (Lights, 2019, para. 19). Finally, several causes of viral meningitis require to be treated with intravenous antiviral medications.


Lights, V. (2019). What do you want to know about meningitis? Healthline. Web.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019). . Mayo Clinic. Web.

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