How prevalent is viral meningitis globally?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Cordia Wan, MD; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Answer

Obtaining accurate international prevalence and incidence of this clinically heterogenous and often benign disease is difficult. Worldwide causes of viral meningitis include enteroviruses, mumps virus, measles virus, VZV, and HIV. Meningitis symptoms may develop in as few as 1 in 3,000 cases of infection by these agents.

Mumps causes 10-20% of meningitis and meningoencephalitis cases in parts of the world where vaccines are not readily accessible.

Japanese B encephalitis virus, the most common pathogen in epidemic viral meningitis worldwide, accounts for more than 35,000 infections annually throughout Asia but is estimated to cause 200-300 times that number of subclinical infections.

Viral meningitis is a notifiable disease in England and Wales, but many cases go unreported. [16] This is also true in Ireland. [17]


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