(HealthDay News) -- Meningitis is a bacterial or viral infection that leads to inflammation of the meninges, tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the following factors can increase your risk of contracting meningitis:
- Being younger than age 5 (for viral meningitis) or being a pre-teen or young adult (for bacterial meningitis).
- Living in a community environment, such as in a dorm or military barracks.
- Being pregnant.
- Being exposed frequently to farm animals.
- Having a compromised immune system such as from a health condition, recent surgery or a side effect of certain medications.