Meningitis means "inflammation of the meninges." The meninges (plural of meninx) are membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. They can become inflamed when an infection occurs in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding these membranes. Other things such as medications, tumours, and chemical exposure can also cause meningitis.
The majority of people with meningitis that is not caused by bacteria (e.g., meningitis caused by a virus) recover quickly and completely. However, bacterial meningitis is fatal for 1 in 10 people who get it, even with treatment. Up to 1 in 5 people will be left with problems such as deafness or brain injury.
Quick diagnosis and treatment are vital to reduce the risk of death or complications from bacterial meningitis.