These are a group of acute bacterial diseases of the brain which can kill, sometimes within hours, or cause some permanent brain damage. The brain damage can often affect intelligence severely: it may also cause spasticity or paralysis (where muscles do not relax or contract) of one or more limbs: it may cause recurrent epileptic fits: and it may cause long term deafness.
Several bacteria can cause meningitis and vaccines are available for some of them. Mortality and morbidity are high without fast use of appropriate antibiotics.
Meningitis is more common where there is overcrowding, poverty and malnutrition.
Meningitis caused 0.3% of all deaths worldwide in 2002 with an average of 28 deaths per million people. Meningitis due to tuberculosis is counted as tuberculosis.