Meningitis is an acute infection of the meninges in the brain. The meninges are the tissue that surrounds the central nervous system, which is the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by both viral and bacterial infections.
A severely stiff neck is the most common symptom and it occurs because the muscles are tightening in order to prevent the spine from moving. Additional symptoms are fever, nausea, vomiting, and severe headache.
Antibiotics can sometimes be used to treat meningitis successfully in bacterial infections. It is essential to begin treatment for meningitis as early as possible because it can cause brain damage, hearing loss, seizures, and accumulation of fluid on the brain. Meningitis can be fatal even with treatment.