Causes of Spinal Meningitis
Viral meningitis, which is typically a mild and non-lethal disease, is usually caused by enteroviruses -- common viruses that enter the body through the mouth and travel to the brain and surrounding tissues where they multiply. Enteroviruses are present in mucus, saliva, and feces and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or an infected object or surface.
Other viruses that cause viral meningitis include:
- Varicella-zoster virus (the virus that causes chickenpox and can appear decades later as shingles [herpes zoster])
- Herpes simplex type 2 (genital herpes).
Causes of Spinal Meningitis: Fungal InfectionsMany fungal infections can affect the brain. The most common form of fungal meningitis is caused by the fungus cryptococcus neoformans (found mainly in dirt and bird droppings).
Cryptococcal meningitis is common in AIDS patients. Although treatable, fungal meningitis often recurs in nearly half of affected people.