14 doctors weighed in:

Is meningitis contagious?

14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Scott Katz
Pediatrics
5 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

Although some types are more contagious than others, the three most common types of bacterial meningitis all have vaccines available to reduce the risk.
There are no vaccines for viral meningitis, but fortunately viral meningitis is typically less serious than bacterial.

In brief: Yes

Although some types are more contagious than others, the three most common types of bacterial meningitis all have vaccines available to reduce the risk.
There are no vaccines for viral meningitis, but fortunately viral meningitis is typically less serious than bacterial.
Dr. Scott Katz
Dr. Scott Katz
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Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Yes

Meningitis is usually caused by viruses or bacteria.
These germs are contagious, and are spread most likely by close contact with ill persons (such as living in the same home, coughing and sneezing on one another, being the caretaker of an ill person, etc. . . .).

In brief: Yes

Meningitis is usually caused by viruses or bacteria.
These germs are contagious, and are spread most likely by close contact with ill persons (such as living in the same home, coughing and sneezing on one another, being the caretaker of an ill person, etc. . . .).
Dr. Robert Kwok
Dr. Robert Kwok
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Dr. Osman Farooq
Pediatrics - Neurology

In brief: Yes

Without knowing what type of meningitis you are referring to, my answer would be to assume that the meningitis is contagious.
Especially for infants, elderly or anyone with a weakened immune system. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

In brief: Yes

Without knowing what type of meningitis you are referring to, my answer would be to assume that the meningitis is contagious.
Especially for infants, elderly or anyone with a weakened immune system. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
Dr. Osman Farooq
Dr. Osman Farooq
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Dr. William Singer
Pediatrics - Neurology

In brief: Possibly

Bacterial infections that cause meningitis spread by droplet infection that is inhaled.
Viral infections are spread by a similar mechanism although some forms of meningo-encephalitis are insect born. Fungal infections are acquired from the environment and usually are not transferred form person to person. Persons with immune deficiency are at greatest risk for acquiring meningitis from others.

In brief: Possibly

Bacterial infections that cause meningitis spread by droplet infection that is inhaled.
Viral infections are spread by a similar mechanism although some forms of meningo-encephalitis are insect born. Fungal infections are acquired from the environment and usually are not transferred form person to person. Persons with immune deficiency are at greatest risk for acquiring meningitis from others.
Dr. William Singer
Dr. William Singer
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In brief: Yes

Yes. Most common forms of meningitis (viral and bacterial) are contagious, although some causes are insignificantly infective (like fungal causes).
Remember, some causes of bacterial meningitis can be prevented with vaccines.

In brief: Yes

Yes. Most common forms of meningitis (viral and bacterial) are contagious, although some causes are insignificantly infective (like fungal causes).
Remember, some causes of bacterial meningitis can be prevented with vaccines.
Dr. Francisco Rivera
Dr. Francisco Rivera
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Dr. Kristen Stuppy
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes

Meningitis is swelling around the brain that is caused by a virus or bacteria.
There are vaccines against some types of meningitis. These include the pneumococcal, meningococcal, and haemophilus influenza type b (hib) (not related to the seasonal flu!) vaccines. Meningitis can be spread from person to person through close contact. Contacts should be treated if meningitis is diagnosed.

In brief: Yes

Meningitis is swelling around the brain that is caused by a virus or bacteria.
There are vaccines against some types of meningitis. These include the pneumococcal, meningococcal, and haemophilus influenza type b (hib) (not related to the seasonal flu!) vaccines. Meningitis can be spread from person to person through close contact. Contacts should be treated if meningitis is diagnosed.
Dr. Kristen Stuppy
Dr. Kristen Stuppy
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Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes

There are several agents that cause infectious meningitis and all are contagious.
The 3 major bacterial agents have preventative vaccines that have eliminated most cases of these diseases in the U.S., saving thousands of lives. In some cases, antibiotics given to exposed people may prevent the spread. If you are concerned consult with your doctor.

In brief: Yes

There are several agents that cause infectious meningitis and all are contagious.
The 3 major bacterial agents have preventative vaccines that have eliminated most cases of these diseases in the U.S., saving thousands of lives. In some cases, antibiotics given to exposed people may prevent the spread. If you are concerned consult with your doctor.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Dr. Mark Diamond
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Dr. Paul Trani
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes

It is highly contagious - so much so that contacts to certain types of bacterial meningitis need antibiotics just because they've come into contact with the meningitis.
The guidelines are best interpreted for your case by your provider, so a phone call is a great idea if you're concerned.

In brief: Yes

It is highly contagious - so much so that contacts to certain types of bacterial meningitis need antibiotics just because they've come into contact with the meningitis.
The guidelines are best interpreted for your case by your provider, so a phone call is a great idea if you're concerned.
Dr. Paul Trani
Dr. Paul Trani
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Dr. Kevin Windisch
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes

Certain forms like Meningococcal meningitis are contagious, other forms like western equine encephalitis virus meningitis aren't contagious.

In brief: Yes

Certain forms like Meningococcal meningitis are contagious, other forms like western equine encephalitis virus meningitis aren't contagious.
Dr. Kevin Windisch
Dr. Kevin Windisch
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Dr. Gregg Alexander
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes

Meningitis is contagious.
It is typically caused by viruses or bacteria, but other, more rare causes, do occur. Viral meningitis is usually less severe and may not need medication (some does), but all other types will need urgent medical care within the hospital.

In brief: Yes

Meningitis is contagious.
It is typically caused by viruses or bacteria, but other, more rare causes, do occur. Viral meningitis is usually less severe and may not need medication (some does), but all other types will need urgent medical care within the hospital.
Dr. Gregg Alexander
Dr. Gregg Alexander
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