ETX doctor explains what meningitis is and what causes it

TYLER - UT Health Northeast's Internal Medline Doctors, David Schafer, described meningitis as an inflammation of the lining tissue of the spinal cord and brain. The winter time is usually a season when people do their best to avoid getting sick with: the common cold and the flu. When it comes to meningitis, Dr. Schafer said its just as infectious. 

"Viral meningitis can be caused by the flu virus," Dr. Schafer said. 

That means, being in close contact with someone who is sick can put someone at risk. If a person has meningitis, Dr. Schafer said they're most infectious 24 to 48 hours before they show symptoms; severe headache and a stiff neck. 

The faculty member at F.L. Moffet Primary school has 'viral' meningitis. Compared to the bacterial type, which can be deadly, viral is less severe. Dr. Schafer said a person can feel like they're having a cold to being in shock, in a matter of 24 to 48 hours. Viral particles of meningitis can stick to objects for days, that's why Center ISD canceled classed at the school, which is in the process of sterilization. 

"The way to prevent viral meningitis is exactly the same way we prevent the flu," Dr. Schafer said. 

While there is treatment for bacterial meningitis, there isn't one for 'viral'. Unless one was infected because of the flu, Dr. Schafer suggested to use tamiflu. He said it should help alleviate the symptoms. 

© 2018 KYTX-TV


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