Is Meningitis Contagious?
Transmission of Meningitis from Person to Person
Meningitis has subtypes that are considered contagious and also has subtypes that are not contagious.
Generally the disease can be transmitted by saliva, air, cough, fecal-oral route, surfaces, blood, needles,
blood transfusions, sexual contact, mother to fetus, etc., but not ALL subtypes.
Contagiousness properties for Meningitis:
Contagious by droplet?:
Contagious from kissing?:
Contagious from saliva?:
Yes, some forms are bacterial meningitis are contagious. The bacteria
are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions
(i.e., coughing, kissing). Fortunately, none of the bacteria that
cause meningitis are as contagious as things like the common cold
or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply
breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. (Source: excerpt from Meningococcal Disease (General): DBMD)
Discussion about Contagion of Meningitis:
However, sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis have spread
to other people who have had close or prolonged contact with a
patient with meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis
(also called meningococcal meningitis) or Hib. People in the same
household or day-care center, or anyone with direct contact with
a patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend)
would be considered at increased risk of acquiring the infection.
People who qualify as close contacts of a person with meningitis
caused by N. meningitidis should receive antibiotics
to prevent them from getting the disease. Antibiotics for contacts
of a person with Hib meningitis disease are no longer recommended
if all contacts 4 years of age or younger are fully vaccinated
against Hib disease (see below). (Source: excerpt from Meningococcal Disease (General): DBMD)
About contagion and contagiousness:
Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily
the spread of Meningitis is possible from one person to another.
Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness",
"transmission" or "transmissability".
Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics
or inheriting diseases from parents.
For an overview of contagion,
see Introduction to Contagion.
» Next page: Treatments for Meningitis
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