Viral meningitis is an infection of the meninges (a thin lining covering the brain and spinal cord) by any one of a number of different viruses. Most cases in the United States are caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses, which are most common in late summer and early fall.
Because a number of different viruses are capable of causing viral meningitis, the manner it is spread depends upon the type. Some are spread by person-to-person contact, while others are spread by insects. Common symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, fatigue, as well as a rash, sore throat and intestinal symptoms. It is often less severe than bacterial meningitis, and most people get better on their own (without treatment). However, anyone with symptoms of meningitis should see a healthcare provider right away because some types of meningitis can be very serious. Only a healthcare provider can determine if someone has meningitis, what is causing it, and the best treatment.
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