Meningitis information

Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by many different organisms, including bacteria and viruses.

Meningitis glass test
Meningitis symptoms and at-risk groups

Meningitis and septicaemia often happen together. Be aware of all the signs and symptoms.

What is meningitis?

There are many different causes of meningitis, but the two most common organisms are viruses and bacteria.

After meningitis 

Meningitis can strike quickly, but its impact can last a lifetime. We know that meningitis and septicaemia can turn your world upside down, leaving many victims with after-effects.

  • 10% of bacterial cases result in death.
  • 1 in 3 of those who survive bacterial meningitis are left with after-effects, many of which are severe such as brain damage, hearing and sight loss, and where septicaemia (blood poisoning) has occurred, loss of limbs and scarring.
  • Bacterial meningitis kills more UK children under the age of five than any other infectious disease.
  • Viral meningitis is usually less serious than bacterial meningitis but can still leave people with long-lasting after-effects, such as headaches, fatigue and memory problems.
Meningitis facts

  • Bacterial meningitis is life-threatening.
  • Viral meningitis is rarely life-threatening, but can leave you with lifelong after-effects.
  • All causes of meningitis are serious and need medical attention.
  • Meningitis can affect anyone, of any age, at any time, however there are ‘at risk’ groups.
  • Meningitis can strike quickly and kill within hours, so urgent medical attention is essential.
  • Vaccines are the only way to prevent meningitis, and until we have vaccines to prevent all types, you need to know the signs and symptoms to look out for and the action to take.
  • Most people will make a good recovery, but some will suffer life-long after-effects and complications