| How Contagious Is Meningitis ?
Meningitis is a disease which is infectious and is seen mostly in school going children. The disease causes inflammation of the membranes that are present around the brain. The initial symptoms of meningitis are similar to common cold and flu and that is why it is often misdiagnosed in the early stages, or parents do not seek immediate medical assistance.
Virus and bacteria cause meningitis. However, it is the viral form of this disease that is extremely contagious, and it spreads via respiratory secretions of an infected person. Because kids do not follow any hygiene precautions, they are most at risk to meningitis. In comparison, bacterial meningitis is not as contagious.
The period of incubation of viral meningitis is 10 days. This virus thrives at the back of mouth and nose, and then it enters the respiratory system. After the first symptoms appear, the infected person is contagious for the next ten days.
Meningitis which spreads via bacteria happens with intimate contact or exchange of saliva, including sharing toothbrushes, kissing, and drinking liquids from same glass and utensils with the person who is infected. However, the bacteria that cause meningitis cannot survive too long outside the body. That is why it is not as contagious.
Enterovirus is the virus which causes viral meningitis. It transmits in the months between June and October in the United States. There are also other viruses that are responsible for meningitis which are spread through airborne droplets, during birth, direct contact or through the bite of an animal or insect.
The symptoms of meningitis cannot be seen immediately after a person is infected. It takes three or four days to have the clear symptoms. The immune system of the body can fight this virus; and even though it stays in the body, the symptoms are unnoticeable.
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