Disease Report Investigation Process
Viral (Aseptic) Meningitis
What is viral meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection of the tissues that cover the
brain and the spinal cord that can be caused by
bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
Viral or aseptic meningitis
is the most common type of meningitis and is the
Who gets viral meningitis?
Anyone can get viral meningitis, but it is more
common in young children, particularly in children
under 1 year of age.
How serious is viral meningitis?
Viral meningitis is a mild disease, and most people
recover completely within 10 days.
How is viral meningitis spread?
Viral meningitis does not generally spread from
The viruses that most often cause
viral meningitis are common and may be spread
through contact with an infected person’s:
most people who are exposed to these viruses do not
develop meningitis because the tissues of the brain
and spinal cord are well-protected from infection.
When exposed to the viruses, some people will
develop only a fever and a rash, and others will have
no symptoms at all.
What are the symptoms of viral meningitis?
Signs and symptoms of viral meningitis vary and
Sensitivity to light
How soon after exposure do symptoms
It usually takes from 3-7 days for symptoms to
Should people with viral meningitis be
It is not necessary to isolate people with viral
meningitis but the infected person and those in close
contact should wash their hands frequently.
What should I do if I believe I have viral
If you believe you have viral meningitis, you should
contact a physician or go to an emergency room as
soon as possible to rule out the more severe bacterial
forms of the disease.
How is viral meningitis treated?
No specific treatments are available at this time.
Antibiotics, while effective against the more serious
bacterial meningitis, are not effective against viral meningitis.
Doctors will often recommend bed rest
and fluids and may prescribe medication to relieve
headache and fever.
Where can I get more information about viral
Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.