Can Herpes Cause Meningitis

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viral meningitis

A survey found that 67% of respondents did not know that herpes viruses can cause a severe inflammation of the central nervous system, called meningitis.

A survey showed that many people don’t know that herpes viruses can cause inflammation of the central nervous system according to (1). The symptoms include fever, headache, irritability, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, rash, or fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, and pain. Headache is common and is often reported as severe (1). Human herpes viruses are best known for causing cold sores and sexually transmitted genital herpes. says that “Herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1, HSV-2, varicella-zoster virus (VZV), Ebstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and human herpesvirus-6 collectively cause … viral meningitis, with HSV-2 being the most common offender. The viruses may attack at any time of the year (1).”

In addition, “sexual contact with actively infected individuals is one of the known risk factors (1).”

herpes and meningitis

The CDC says that “Viral meningitis can affect anyone. But infants younger than 1 month old and people whose immune systems are weak are at higher risk for severe infection. People who are around someone with viral meningitis have a chance of becoming infected with the virus that made that person sick (2).”

One major risk factor is a weak immune system.

“There are certain diseases, medications and surgical procedures that may weaken the immune system and increase risk of meningitis (2).”

meningitis symptoms

I had surgery and I ended up with meningitis with the worst headache of my entire life. I would not wish that on anyone.” – Patty G. (San Francisco)

Antibiotics do not help viral infections, so they are not useful in the treatment of viral meningitis. A hospital stay may be necessary in more severe cases or for people with weak immune systems (2).”

The bottom line?

Doctors often prescribe rest, drinking a lot of water and taking pain medication. However, individuals should also consider taking a natural antiviral supplement that helps the immune system target the herpes virus.


(1) Wan, C. “Viral Meningitis Treatment & Management” Updated: Jun 23, 2015

(2) – Viral Meningitis – Page last updated: November 26, 2014

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