Meningitis is the acute inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. These protective membranes, which are shown below, are collectively identified as the meninges.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4,000 people contract bacterial meningitis each year in the United States. Of these people, between 400 and 500, will die.
If untreated, bacterial meningitis is almost always fatal. A delay in the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis and the initiation of needed antibiotics can result in devastating consequences.
In addition to bacterial meningitis, meningitis can also be caused by viral or fungal sources. Viral meningitis is most often caused by Enterovirus, Herpes Simplex Virus and the West Nile Virus.