Bacterial meningitis

Until there are vaccines to prevent all types of meningitis, knowing the signs and symptoms, trusting your instincts and getting urgent medical help is the best way to protect yourself and others

Types and causes - bacterial meningitis LB

Bacterial meningitis – the facts

  • Bacterial meningitis requires urgent medical treatment
  • There is no vaccine to protect against all types of meningitis
  • Some bacteria that cause meningitis can also cause septicaemia* (blood poisoning)
  • People can be left with a variety of after-effects

*Many medical experts now use the term sepsis instead of septicaemia.

Bacterial meningitis causes

There are many different bacteria that can cause meningitis, the most common are:

How do you treat bacterial meningitis? 

Bacterial meningitis needs rapid admission to hospital and urgent treatment with antibiotics. If treated promptly, bacterial meningitis is less likely to become life-threatening.

Who gets bacterial meningitis and why?

  • Bacterial meningitis can affect any age group, but is more common in babies and young children
  • Babies and young children are more at risk because their body’s defences are not fully developed
  • Teenagers and young people are also at increased risk, particularly during the first year at university

Got a question about bacterial meningitis?

We can help. Contact our helpline on 0808 80 10 388. Alternatively, email us at and we will come back to you as soon as we can. We are open 9am-4pm Monday - Thursday and 9am-1pm Friday.

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