Communicable Diseases
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Viral Meningitis

Methods of control

  1. Preventive measures: Depend on causes (please see specific disease chapters).

  2. Control of patient, contacts and the immediate environment:
    1. Report to local health authority: In selected endemic areas; in many countries not a reportable disease, Class 3 (see Reporting). If laboratory-confirmed, specify infectious agent; otherwise, report as “cause undetermined.”

    2. Isolation: Specific diagnosis depends on laboratory data not usually available until after recovery. Therefore, enteric precautions are indicated for 7 days after onset of illness, unless a non-enteroviral diagnosis is established.

    3. Concurrent disinfection: No special precautions needed beyond routine sanitary practices.

    4. Quarantine: Not applicable.

    5. Immunization of contacts: See specific infectious agent.

    6. Investigation of contacts and source of infection: Not usually indicated.

    7. Specific treatment: Acyclovir may be given for herpes simplex meningitis. Pleconaril is available experimentally for enteroviral infections in many industrialized countries. In the rare event of agammaglobulinemia with chronic enteroviral meningitis, patients should receive IG.

  3. Epidemic measures: See specific infectious agent.

  4. Disaster implications: None.

  5. International measures: WHO Collaborating Centres provide support as required. More information can be found at:

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