Who is affected by meningitis

Viral meningitis is more common in the United States than bacterial meningitis. However, it is difficult to estimate the incidence of viral meningitis because states are not required to report cases to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, people who have a mild form of the illness might not see a doctor.

About 2 out of every 100,000 people develop bacterial meningitis every year in the U.S.1

Few people in the U.S. get meningitis caused by other organisms and conditions.


  1. American Public Health Association (2004). Meningitis. In J Chin, ed., Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 18th edition, pp. 357–371. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

Last Updated: December 24, 2008

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