Meningitis is a serious disease in which there is an inflammation of the lining around the spinal cord and the brain, usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
Meningitis is usually viral or bacterial. Viral meningitis is a serious illness, but doesn’t usually end in fatality and most people make a full recovery. Bacterial however, has a higher incidence of fatality and has many strains, caused by many different bacteria. Most of the cases in Ireland are caused by meningococcal disease. Meningococcal bacteria can cause both meningitis and septicaemia.
Meningitis and Septicaemia often happen together please see awareness card on our home page for signs and symptoms.
Septicaemia is an infection of the blood with bacteria, otherwise known as blood poisoning. The glass tumbler test is associated with meningitis, whereby if a tumbler glass is pressed against a septicaemic rash, it will not fade. This is the rash people usually associate with meningitis but it is important to remember meningitis does not always produce a rash.