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Common Causes of Meningitis: Adolescent and Adult (6 - 60 Years Old)

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The most common etiologies of meningitis in people between the ages of 6 and 60 years of age include S. pneumoniae, N. meningitidis, Enteroviruses and HSV. It should be noted that N. meningitidis is the most common cause of meningitis in teens.
4 KEY FACTS
Enteroviruses
Intestine-viruses

Humans are the only known reservoir for enteroviruses, and transmission of enteroviruses occurs most commonly by the fecal-oral route, leading to aseptic meningitis.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
Herpes-harp Virus

Primary Herpes simplex virus (HSV) has been increasingly recognized as a cause of viral meningitis in adults. Viral meningitis in immunocompetent adults is generally caused by HSV-2. Genital lesions are present in approximately 85 percent of patients with primary HSV-2 meningitis, and these generally precede the onset of CNS symptoms by seven days.

Neisseria meningitidis (#1 Cause in Teens)
Knife Men-in-tights

Meningitis due to N. meningitidis tends to strike young, previously well individuals and can progress over a matter of hours to death. The organism is considered a respiratory pathogen and spread is most likely by the aerosol route. It seen more often in less well-developed countries.

Streptococcus pneumoniae
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S. pneumoniae is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in adults in the USA. This bacterial meningitis presents with the classic triad of fever, nuchal rigidity, and a change in mental status.

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