Long-term complications of meningitis

People who have bacterial meningitis may have long-term complications, including:

  • Permanent brain damage. Meningitis can cause long-term problems such as hearing loss (ranging from slight to total), learning problems (including mental retardation), seizures, vision problems (including blindness), paralysis of one or more parts of the body, behavior problems, or personality changes.
  • Long-term physical problems. Heart, liver, or intestinal problems or deformities of the arms and legs can develop. These usually occur in newborns and young children.
  • Vulnerable child syndrome. This condition can occur after a child recovers from any serious illness. Parents worry that their child will become sick again and try to protect the child from all illness. If the child notices the parents' worry, he or she may develop behavioral problems.

Last Updated: December 24, 2008

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