The different types of meningitis

The different types of meningitis

Viral meningitis:

This is the most frequent and normally the least serious type of meningitis. It is provoked by numerous common virus (mumps, chickenpox, measles,  – ).  Most of the time, it is spontaneously cured within three up to eight days and does not involve any particular treatment.

Nowadays vaccinations which are systematically made on children prevent a certain number of virus which may cause meningitis to appear.


Bacterial meningitis:

This type of meningitis is less frequent and more serious than the former one. Bacterial meningitis may generate serious aftermaths (deafness, blindness, paralysis, coma), and potentially death.

About 70% of cases happen before five.

These bacteria are very often located in the nose and in the pharynx. They are transmitted through contaminated secretions coming from both – nose and pharynx – that is to say through sputters or sneeze.

They become really dangerous when they penetrate the circulating blood (blood poisoning or septicemia) and reach meninges.

The main bacteria at the origin of meningitis are today in France pneumococcus and meningococcus.

* Pneumococcus meningitis :

In France, among all the bacterial infections, those which are generated by pneumococcus are the first cause of death for children who are less than two. Pneumococcus is a very common germ among children. In most of the cases it is harmless but sometimes it may generate an earinfection, a pneumonia or even meningitis.

 presents itself under different forms called serotypes. A vaccine against the seven most frequent serotypes of  pneumococcus is available and recommended as soon as the child is two months old

meningococcus meningitis :

Numerous types of meningococcus exist (serogroups). In France, serogroups B, C and W 135 are the most frequently detected in case of meningitis.

30% of the cases of invasive infections generated by meningococcus lead  to a dreadful infection guilty of an important mortality rate: purpura fulminans. The appearance of red marks on the skin is the corresponding symptom and a sign of extreme seriousness and must consequently be interpreted as the signal of a necessary immediate hospitalization.

Vaccines against meningococcus A, C, Y and W 135 are available. Vaccination is recommended for persons who have been in contact with an affected person or in certain countries where the infection is frequent.

There is no similar vaccine against meningococcus belonging to serogroup B ; a few countries have developed specific vaccines of certain clones use to cure a local infection.