What is the most common cause of meningitis in infants?
Many different types of bacteria can cause bacterial meningitis. In newborns, the most common causes are group B strep, E. coli, and less commonly, Listeria monocytogenes. In older kids, Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) are often the causes.
A fungal infection can also cause meningitis, but this is much less common. Meningitis that affects babies up to 2 or 3 months old is called neonatal meningitis. Whether viral or bacterial, it can be very serious, and any delay in treatment could put your baby at risk for deafness, intellectual disability, and death.
- The most common causes of neonatal meningitis is bacterial infection of the blood, known as bacteremia (specifically Group B Streptococci (GBS; Streptococcus agalactiae), Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes).
- Both viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis are contagious, but meningitis is not as easy to catch as you might think. The bacteria reside in droplets of fluid in the throat and nose and can leave the body when an infected person sneezes, laughs, coughs, or talks.
- This can cause a faint skin rash that looks like tiny pinpricks. The spots may be pink, red, or purple. In the early stages these symptoms may be dismissed as a scratch or mild bruising. The skin may simply look blotchy and can appear anywhere on the body.
Updated: 21st November 2019