Risk factors for meningitis include:
March 19, 2013
- Skipping vaccinations. If you or your child hasn't completed the recommended childhood or adult vaccination schedule, the risk of meningitis is higher.
- Age. Most cases of viral meningitis occur in children younger than age 5. Bacterial meningitis commonly affects people under 20, especially those living in community settings.
- Living in a community setting. College students living in dormitories, personnel on military bases, and children in boarding schools and child care facilities are at increased risk of meningococcal meningitis. This increased risk likely occurs because the bacterium is spread by the respiratory route and tends to spread quickly wherever large groups congregate.
- Pregnancy. If you're pregnant, you're at increased risk of contracting listeriosis — an infection caused by listeria bacteria, which also may cause meningitis. If you have listeriosis, your unborn baby is at risk, too.
- Compromised immune system. Factors that may compromise your immune system — including AIDS, alcoholism, diabetes and use of immunosuppressant drugs — also make you more susceptible to meningitis. Removal of your spleen, an important part of your immune system, also may increase your risk.
- Meningitis and encephalitis fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/encephalitis_meningitis/detail_encephalitis_meningitis.htm. Accessed Dec. 29, 2012.
- Bacterial meningitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html. Accessed Jan. 2, 2013.
- Bartt R. Acute bacterial and viral meningitis. Continuum Lifelong Learning in Neurology. 2012;18:1255.
- Viral meningitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html. Accessed Jan. 2, 2013.
- Fungal meningitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/fungal.html. Accessed Jan. 2, 2013.
- Derber CJ, et al. Head and neck emergencies. Medical Clinics of North America. 2012;96:1107.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Dec. 28, 2012.
- Acute bacterial meningitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/meningitis/acute_bacterial_meningitis.html. Accessed Dec. 31, 2012.
- Prevention — Listeriosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/prevention.html. Accessed Jan. 2, 2013.
- Subacute and chronic meningitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/meningitis/subacute_and_chronic_meningitis.html. Accessed Jan. 2, 2013.
- Van de Beek D, et al. Advances in treatment of bacterial meningitis. The Lancet. 2012;380:1693.
- Recommended immunization schedule for persons aged 0 through 18 years — United States, 2013. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/child-adolescent.html. Accessed Feb. 19, 2013.
- Recommended adult immunization schedule — United States, 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule.pdf. Accessed Dec. 28, 2012.
- Meningococcal vaccine: Who and when to vaccinate. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/mening/who-vaccinate-hcp.htm. Accessed Dec. 28, 2012.