The fatality rate of meningitis depends largely on the infection type and how quickly a person receives appropriate medical care.
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes or “meninges” surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Most infections are due to a bacteria or virus, but some result from fungi or parasites.
It is vital that anyone experiencing symptoms of meningitis seeks immediate medical care.
This article outlines meningitis fatality rates and survival rates and provides information on the prevalence of the disease. We also discuss some factors that can affect outlook.
According to the
Among the different types of meningitis, bacterial meningitis (BM) carries the highest fatality rate. According to the
A 2019 study found that global meningitis cases increased from 2.5 million in 1990 to 2.82 million in 2016. Despite this increase, overall deaths decreased by 21%. Still, the fatality rate of meningitis remains high, especially compared with other vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and tetanus.
A 2019 IMHE study found that meningitis caused 236,000 deaths worldwide. Around 112,000 of these deaths were among children under 5 years of age.
The Illinois Department of Public Health notes that, before antibiotics became the standard treatment for BM, around 70 in 100 BM cases resulted in death. Today, with antibiotic treatment, this figure is around 15 in 100 or fewer.
- Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
- Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus)
- Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus)
- Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus)
Vaccines are the best protection from BM, preventing Hib, meningococcus, and pneumococcus.
Most people with healthy immune systems can recover from VM. However, anyone with symptoms of meningitis should see a doctor, as all types of the disease can be severe.
The majority of VM cases are due to enteroviruses. These are
Other viruses that may cause VM include:
- herpesviruses, such as:
- varicella-zoster, which causes chickenpox and shingles
- lymphocytic choriomeningitis
- arboviruses, which transmit via infected mosquitos
Meningitis survival statistics differ according to meningitis type. Below are the survival statistics for the two most common forms of meningitis — bacterial and viral.
Scientists need to conduct more research into the survival statistics of VM. However, a
The odds of surviving meningitis strongly relate to the type of meningitis a person has and the speed with which the person begins treatment.
In developed countries where medical care is available more quickly, an individual who develops meningitis has a
People who survive BM often develop long-term health effects that require ongoing treatment. These may include brain damage and problems with hearing, speech, or vision.
Rates of meningitis remain high in some areas of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, but are low in the United States. In 2020, the
The risk of a meningitis outbreak increases when people live or spend time in
- at a day care or school
- at refugee camps
- at mass gatherings
- in overcrowded housing, such as student, military, or occupational housing
Rates of meningitis are
According to the IMHE’s 2019 study, the global prevalence of meningitis was equivalent to 99.9 cases per 100,000 people.
Meningitis rates equated to 98.8 cases per 100,000 females and 101 cases per 100,000 males. These figures represent a 13.1% decrease in meningitis cases from 2010–2019 for both sexes.
Two key factors that affect meningitis fatality are vaccinations and access to prompt and appropriate medical care.
If symptoms of meningitis develop, a person should seek immediate medical attention. Some possible symptoms to look out for
Meningitis is the medical term for inflammation of the protective meninges surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This inflammation typically occurs as a result of a bacterial or viral infection. Less commonly, fungi or parasites can cause meningitis.
In the U.S., deaths from meningitis have
One key factor that can impact survival and outlook is immediate access to appropriate medical care. As such, anyone experiencing symptoms of meningitis should seek immediate medical attention.