Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the linings surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by an infection with bacteria or viruses. The hallmarks of meningitis are fever, headache and stiffness of the neck when you try to bend the head forward onto the chest. It is usually an acute and severe illness.
There are two main types of meningitis; viral (caused by a virus) and bacterial (caused by bacteria).