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What is Meningitis?
Meningitis, commonly called spinal meningitis, is an an inflammation of the lining of the brain. Meningitis is almost always caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the spinal fluid (which is why the disease is called spinal meningitis). The infection generally starts elsewhere, like the ears, sinuses or throat, and then spreads through the blood stream to the spinal fluid and the lining of the brain called the meninges. Meningitis can cause many severe injuries including, shock, brain damage and death. There are over 10,000 cases per year and about 2/3 are in children. Because of immature immune systems, babies from birth to two years old have the highest incidence rate, and some of the worst outcomes.