How do fungal, other forms of meningitis differ? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

How do fungal, other forms of meningitis differ?

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By Deena Centofanti
FOX 2 News Health Reporter

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- In the fall, doctors remind parents that teens are supposed to get their meningitis vaccine, but with fungal meningitis, the vaccine will not protect you.

"All I could do is just lay there and it was just a really bad headache, and then we went to the doctor's. I noticed my neck was getting all stiff," said Brett Kean.  "I couldn't move it or anything."

Kean is a metro Detroit teen who remembers what it was like to have viral meningitis.  After being hospitalized and given anti-bacterial and anti-viral medications, he made a great recovery, but it doesn't always happen that way.

Meningitis is the swelling of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain leading to symptoms like headache, fever and confusion.

There are vaccines to protect against bacterial and viral meningitis.  Bacterial meningitis is considered life threatening and contagious.  Viral meningitis is also contagious, but considered less serious.  Fungal meningitis, the source of the recent outbreak, is very rare, not contagious and not covered by any immunization.

Kean actually got immunized, but that did not protect him from meningitis. Doctors do recommend two doses of vaccines for kids ages eleven through 18.  

Unfortunately, the vaccine will do nothing to protect against this current outbreak.

For more information, visit the CDC's meningitis website at

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