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Meningitis (viral)

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Fact sheet - Health conditions directory

Viral meningitis is an infection of the meninges (the thin lining of the brain and spinal cord). It can be caused by a number of different viruses and is often a complication of another viral illness. It is a fairly common disease. Almost all cases occur as single, isolated events. Outbreaks are rare.

Most cases of viral meningitis are mild and most people make an excellent recovery. Some people may be hospitalised for a short time. However, on rare occasions viral meningitis can be life threatening or cause lasting after effects, particularly if people have problems with their immune system.

Viral meningitis is more common in children but it can occur in any age group.

Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis (such as pneumococcal and meningococcal meningitis) and the number of cases usually increases during the summer. In Queensland, around 300 people are admitted to hospital with viral meningitis each year.

Last updated: 5 June 2023

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