Can Meningitis Come Back Years Later

… Continued …

  1. In rare cases, recurrent bacterial meningitis occurs due to a congenital /hereditary disorder (especially if it affects specific part of the body immune system called the ‘complement system’). For such cases, Streptococcus pneumonia is the most common type of bacteria to blame!
  2. Still, antibiotics are the main treatment to fight against the infection. Doctors may also suggest additional medications. For example, a corticosteroid such as dexamethasone is sometimes prescribed to help treat the inflammation.

With prompt treatment, another recurrence of the disease should be preventable!

Early diagnosis of the recurrence is important to prevent the complications. Tests and procedures to help diagnose the disease include physical examination, imaging tests (like CT-scan or X-rays) to look for any defect, or sometimes blood tests to check whether you have any congenital disorder that contribute to cause the recurrence!


As mentioned before, viral meningitis it’s less likely to cause serious complications. But there is also a chance for some viral infections to cause recurrent meningitis (though this is not common, rare).

For example, one of the main ones is HSV-2 (Herpes simplex virus type 2). HSV-2 that causes the recurrent is usually called ‘Mollaret meningitis’, which is also sometimes called recurrent aseptic or lymphocytic meningitis.

What is Mollaret meningitis?

It is usually characterized by repeated episodes of neck stiffness, fever, severe headaches, and muscle aches. Each episode can be separated by weeks or months of remission (with no symptoms).

Although there is no specific treatment, the treatment is usually necessary to prevent the complications. Without prompt treatment, it may turn into serious and cause long-term problems affecting the nervous system (such as vision problem, some paralysis, abnormal reflex, hearing loss, seizure, or even coma).

The good news, most people can fully recover from the disease. This is especially true if the disease is properly treated.

Other causes of recurrent meningitis

Non-infectious causes can also lead to the recurrent in very rare cases. See the previous page for more information about these non-infection causes! For example, if the first episode of the disease was triggered by certain medication, the disease may come back if your take the medication again.

A leakage of a brain cyst may also trigger the recurrence. The cyst can be diagnosed with imaging tests, such as CT-scan or MRI.

Again, identifying the exact cause of the recurrent meningitis is crucial since it will determine the way of how the treatment will go. See your doctor promptly if you notice any symptom of the recurrent – remember, early treatment is often associated with a better outcome!

Article sources: