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The GenerEhlist - CCFP Exam Prep, Low Risk Obstetrics & Canadian Primary Care Medicine

Apr 23, 2023

Written By: Andrea Brabant – FM PGY1 - NWT

Expert Review By: Dr Katherine Breen, ER Physician NWT

Meningitis is defined as inflammation of the meninges, the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It is most commonly due to infection, either bacterial or viral. This can happen through hematogenous spread, when bacteria invade the bloodstream (often from the upper airway), and gradually make their way to the subarachnoid space. 

However, it can also happen through direct contiguous spread. This is when organisms gain entry into the cerebrospinal fluid from adjacent infections (think sinusitis, brain abscess, otitis media) or directly through penetrating traumatic injury, congenital defects, or during neurosurgical procedures.