- The disease was first described as a form or recurrent meningitis in 1944 by Pierre Mollaret
- Herpes Simplex virus type 2, which usually causes genital herpes, is present in many cases of Mollaret’s meningitis
- Herpes Simplex viruses can directly infect the central nervous system and can be inactive for a time without the person showing any signs or symptoms
- Reactivation of the infection can then cause a recurrent episode of disease
- About one in five people who have an initial episode of Herpes Simplex virus type 2 meningitis will have a recurrence. If symptoms recur more than three times, this is then called Mollaret’s meningitis
How long does Mollaret's meningitis last?
- An episode of Mollaret’s meningitis can last anything between a few days to a few weeks (usually between two - seven days) and usually resolves without any need for treatment.
- Episodes of Mollaret’s meningitis can be months or years apart and can be a considerable burden to sufferers
- There is usually complete recovery between episodes, with no permanent after-effects
- An antiviral medication called ‘acyclovir’, which is used to treat genital herpes and cold sores, can be used to treat Mollaret’s meningitis, although there is a lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of this treatment
- Anyone with recurrent episodes of viral meningitis should be assessed by a neurological infection specialist