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Is Meningitis Contagious?

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Updated April 12, 2007

Question: Is Meningitis Contagious?
Answer: Meningitis is contagious. It can be spread by coming into contact with an infected person's respiratory secretions. Small children who are not yet toilet trained and their caretakers may also spread the virus.

Not everyone who is infected with meningitis will actually get the disease. Therefore, it is not always obvious when you are at risk for infection. When it comes to personal hygiene, common sense can help prevent the spread of viral meningitis. This may include:

  • washing hands often
  • disinfecting surfaces with chlorine bleach mixed with water

Because viral meningitis is caused by the enterovirus, it is important to note that this virus is active in the summer and early fall.

If you are unsure of the risks for or symptoms of meningitis, take a few moments to go through the Meningitis Awareness Quiz to clarify your knowledge of the subject.

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