Viral meningitis can be defined as an infection and inflammation of the meninges. That is, from the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. This infection can be due to the spread of multiple viruses. And, although it is a disease before which you have to be careful and take preventive measures, the truth is that, in general, it is usually less harmful and harmful to health than bacterial meningitis. But how is viral meningitis spread? Is it possible to take precautions? From, we are going to give you some keys to answer these questions. Viruses that cause viral meningitis.
As we mentioned at the beginning, viral meningitis is caused by a virus, being multiple those that can trigger it. In general, the most common is that this disease appears by contagion with enteroviruses that are not related to polio and that usually lodge in the digestive section, being very contagious. However, these viruses do not always cause the person to suffer from this pathology, since, in addition, there are other viruses that can cause meningitis:
- Mumps virus.
- Measles virus.
- Herpes viruses, such as herpes simplex or chickenpox, as well as HSV-2 type, which is what causes genital herpes.
- Viruses that cause the flu.
- Arboviruses or viruses transmitted by mosquitoes such as West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, or California encephalitis virus.
- Lymphocyte choriomeningitis virus (infectious disease of rodents).
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).
Viruses that cause viral meningitis usually attack babies, children under the age of five, and people who have weakened immune systems from other diseases or from taking some medications. All these are the most prone groups and in which there is a higher clinical incidence of this pathology.
How you can get viral meningitis
Viral meningitis, when triggered by different viruses, can be spread in many ways depending on the virus that causes it. In this way, it is difficult to establish certain clear routes of contagion, although we can talk about the most frequent and common:
- Blood transmission: if it is contaminated and the infection is located in another part of the person's body, this being the most common form of contagion and spread.
- Contact with contaminated feces: this route is more frequent when viral meningitis is caused by enteroviruses and occurs because the person does not wash their hands after defecating or by the use of some public facilities such as swimming pools. This contagion occurs not only through human feces, but also from other animals such as infected mice or hamsters and whose excrement and urine can also contaminate food. Be equally careful with changing the diaper of the infected baby.
- Sexual contact: This channel of infection is more common when having sex or some type of genital contact with people who have HIV or HSV-2.
- Breathing: it is also possible to get viral meningitis by inhaling the virus.
- Bites: the bites of insects such as mosquitoes are another way of contagion and transmission, which happens with West Nile or St. Louis viruses, among others.
- Needles: Viral meningitis is also spread by using infected needles from people addicted to drugs and who have HIV.
- Saliva: Contact with saliva and nasal mucus are very common forms of contagion, especially among children who tend to put many objects in their mouths. This contagion can also occur by sharing cutlery.
- Touching objects: People can also get viral meningitis by touching items or products that have been handled by infected people and then touching their mouth, nose, and eyes.
Tips to prevent viral meningitis
Viral meningitis is difficult to prevent because there are many ways to get it depending on the virus, as we have already indicated above. However, it is possible to give a series of tips that can be put into practice to at least reduce the chances of contagion:
- Soap and water: washing and cleaning surfaces well with soap and water is key, as is disinfecting them with a bleach that includes chlorine. This will allow you to eliminate the viruses in those areas where the person with viral meningitis has been.
- Hands: it is essential to wash your hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, especially after defecating. It is also a gesture that has to be made when changing the child's diapers. In addition, if you are in contact with a sick person, this washing has to be done more often, even if you have not gone to the toilet.
- Tissues: Tissues have to be thrown away after each use, even if they are not very dirty or have been used in their entirety. It is also convenient to throw away the garbage frequently so that a significant number of microorganisms do not accumulate.
- Sharing: it is important not to always share drinks or food, but especially if it is known that the person is infected. The same happens with cutlery or glasses, among other objects.
With these tips and explanations about this disease, we hope at we have helped you know how viral meningitis is spread. It is always advisable to go to the doctor for any symptoms or suspicion that you may suffer from the disease. In addition, the doctor will indicate the medical guidelines necessary to overcome the disease and also to prevent infections of the people in the environment.