Meningitis - Prognosis

Viral meningitis is the least severe type of the disease. Patients usually recover with no long-term effects. Bacterial infections are far more serious and progress quickly. Very rapid treatment with antibiotics is necessary. If the infection is not halted, the patient may fall into a coma and die in less than a day.

Death rates for meningitis vary depending on the cause of the infection. Overall, the death rate from the disease is just less than 20 percent.

Long-term effects of meningitis are not unusual. For example, damage to cells in certain parts of the brain can cause deafness and/or blindness. Some patients develop permanent seizure disorders. These disorders may require lifelong treatment with antiseizure medications. Scarring of brain tissue can block normal flow of CSF. This condition may be serious enough to require the installation of shunt tubes, surgically implanted devices that help to restore normal circulation of CSF.

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