What is meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. It can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection and can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly.

Signs and symptoms

Below are some signs and symptoms of meningitis:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion and drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Rash
  • Light sensitivity
  • Cold hands and feet

What are meninges?

The meninges are the three layers of protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is the inflammation of these membranes.

What causes the different types of meningitis?

Meningitis can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral and bacterial infections.


We will conduct a thorough evaluation to ensure an accurate diagnosis. If meningitis is suspected, your doctor may arrange the following assessments to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Blood tests
  • Medical imaging
  • Lumbar puncture
Neurology and neurosurgery

Get referred

To receive a diagnosis or treatment from an Epworth specialist, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your GP and request a referral.

Treatment and management

Your Epworth care team will collaborate with you and your family to plan the best approach to treatment and symptom management.

Your meningitis treatment will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition:

Treatment for bacterial meningitis

The most common treatment for meningitis is antibiotics. If bacterial meningitis is suspected, antibiotics are usually given immediately and often through an IV.

Viral and other meningitis treatment

Antiviral medications are used to treat viral meningitis. Antifungal medications are used to treat fungal meningitis and antiparasitic medications are used to treat parasitic meningitis.

Other treatments may include

  • Corticosteroids
  • Seizure management
  • Pain management
  • Fluid and electrolyte replacement


Not all patients who have meningitis will require rehabilitation, but if you do, we offer a dedicated neurological rehabilitation program that supports people with a range of neurological diagnoses. Your Epworth care team will work with you to determine the most appropriate rehabilitation program based on your individual needs.

Our locations

For meningitis

Your care team at Epworth

The multidisciplinary team for meningitis is led by a specialist neurologist. Learn more about the health professionals in the neurology care team.

Learn more about the health professionals in the neurology care team.

Neurology and neurosurgery

Choosing your Epworth specialist

Meet our specialist neurologists and neurosurgeons, accredited at Epworth.


We use cookies to provide you with a customised experience which may include marketing purposes. More details can be found at our Privacy Policy.