Great question. It's an infection of the meninges -- the membrane that lines the brain -- and the fluid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. It can be caused by either a virus or bacterial. Viral meningitis is usually less severe and typically resolves itself without specific treatment. Bacterial meningitis, though treatable with antibiotics, is often more severe and can result in complications, such as brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability, and death.
Knowing what it is, what the symptoms are, and what to do are all important to ensuring we prevent the contraction and spread of meningitis. We've answered some commonly asked questions specific to meningitis.