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A 17-year-old male asked:

If someone had meningitis and i stayed near him or her do i get meningitis as well? and if someone is having meningitis, will i have meningitis?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Leander Po
Infectious Disease 18 years experience
Depends on the type: Most people have a distorted view of "meningitis" since most are familiar with the fearsome "meningococcal" form, caused by neisseria meningitidis bacteria. In fact, many, types of meningitis (bacteria, virus, etc) are not contagious just by merely standing beside a person. It depends on how an organism cause a meningitis and how intact a person's immune system is in fighting the offending agent.
Dr. Martin Tamler
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 33 years experience
Meningitis: Causes of bacterial meningitis including strep, neisseria, h flu & viruses like enteroviruses, herpes, & hiv. Bacteria & viruses that cause meningitis colonize the nose & throat & are transmitted through respiratory droplets. Viral meningitis can also be transmitted by fecal-oral routes & insect bites. Usually contacts working within ~3 ft of those with meningitis r considered to be at high risk.

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Last updated May 12, 2016

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