4 doctors weighed in:

Can you get meningitis from an ear infection?

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Carla Enriquez
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree

In brief: Maybe

If the infecting agent is aggressive and the host (you) is vulnerable, the ear infection could spread to the meninges.
This is usually through hematogenous spread (through the blood stream) rather than through neighboring invasion. Rarely, if the infection is ignored, it can spread to the mastoid air sacs, thence to the venous sinuses in the brain, and thus cerebritis.

In brief: Maybe

If the infecting agent is aggressive and the host (you) is vulnerable, the ear infection could spread to the meninges.
This is usually through hematogenous spread (through the blood stream) rather than through neighboring invasion. Rarely, if the infection is ignored, it can spread to the mastoid air sacs, thence to the venous sinuses in the brain, and thus cerebritis.
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1 doctor agrees

In brief: Possible

Ear infections, bacterial or viral could cause potentially cause meningitis.
Basically any infection close to the brain could potentially spread to the meninges but again the chance are usually low. If you have any suspicion that you or someone close to you has meningitis, get them to a doctor asap.

In brief: Possible

Ear infections, bacterial or viral could cause potentially cause meningitis.
Basically any infection close to the brain could potentially spread to the meninges but again the chance are usually low. If you have any suspicion that you or someone close to you has meningitis, get them to a doctor asap.
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Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics

In brief: Rare

Most meningitis will begin as a separate event after causal germs travel to the brain coverings through the blood.
Middle ear infections begin when germs from your throat travel up your Eustachian tube to feed off trapped mucus. There are rare instances where the germs might enter through a defect in the middle ear chamber, but this is more theory than an observed problem.

In brief: Rare

Most meningitis will begin as a separate event after causal germs travel to the brain coverings through the blood.
Middle ear infections begin when germs from your throat travel up your Eustachian tube to feed off trapped mucus. There are rare instances where the germs might enter through a defect in the middle ear chamber, but this is more theory than an observed problem.
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