Schieflage - Kernspintomographie image by Marem from Fotolia.com

Meningitis is the inflammation of the the membranes that cover the central nervous system. Meningitis is almost always a life-threatening condition.

Meningoccocal meningitis

Meningitis can be caused by the Neisseria meningitidis. Neisseria meningitidis, also known as the meningococcus, is a disease-causing bacteria found in humans. It is one of the leading causes of meningitis. A person cannot be infected with this form of meningitis from contact with animals.

Viral Meningitis

Viral meningitis (aseptic meningitis) is caused by viruses such as herpes simplex viruses, varicella zoster virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, mumps virus and enteroviruses. The majority of the viruses that cause viral meningitis have a human reservoir but there are few (for example certain enteroviruses LCMV) whose reservoir of infection are animals. It is possible for a person to become infected with a meningitis-causing microbe from contact with animals.

Other Bacterial Meningitis

Most bacterias cause meningitis as a complication of an infection in another part of the body. It is possible to become infected from contact with animals. An example is the the meningitis that can result from an Mycobacterium bovis infection.

Autoimmune and Cancer Meningitis

Autoimmune meningitis and meningitis caused by tumors are in no way related to contact with animals.

Medicinal Meningitis

Meningitis can be an adverse and rare effect of certain medications. These medications includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and IVIGs. This type of meningitis also has no connection to contact with animals.

Fungal Meningitis

Fungal meningitis is usually a complication of a fungal infection in another part of the body. During fungal meningitis, the infection from another section of the body is transferred to the meninges, causing meningitis. Sporotrichosis is an example of a fungal infection that can be received from animals.