The meninges (say: muh-NIN-jeez) cover and protect the brain
and spinal cord. Meningitis happens when the meninges swell
or get irritated.
There are different kinds of meningitis, but most of the time it is caused by germs, especially bacteria and viruses.
Someone with meningitis is very sick and may have a very bad headache,
stiff neck, and fever. Meningitis
not only makes someone feel sick, it can affect the person's ability to think and
learn. But many people recover from the infection without permanent problems.