Examining causes and effects of viral meningitis

Examining causes and effects of viral meningitis

16 December 2011

Meningitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Compared to bacterial meningitis which account for up to 3,400 cases of meningitis and septicaemia a year much less is known about the causes and effects of viral meningitis on patients.

MRF is now funding new research in the North of England and is working with a team of researchers lead by Professor Tom Solomon at University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, and a number of hospitals in the region to find out more.

Professor Solomon said: “Current research shows that we are aware of some of the viruses that cause meningitis but many patients remain without a specific diagnosis. There has also been evidence to suggest that patients with viral meningitis can have ongoing problems after their acute illness but no big studies have been done on this in the UK. Our research will try to find out exactly how big the problem is and what effects viral meningitis has on people for up to a year after the episode of meningitis. We are looking at things like headaches, quality of life and how well the brain functions. We will also be looking at ways to improve the diagnosis and, in the future, looking at treatments for certain types of viral meningitis.”

Fiona McGill, the Research Fellow running the project said : “Almost all the hospitals in the North West of England are involved (and some in the North East). Anyone who is admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of viral meningitis may be asked to take part in the study so don’t be surprised if you are approached about this. We need as many people as possible who have suffered from this disease to take part so we can make this research a success.”

Paula Scarlett from Lytham St Anne’s is a patient representative on the steering committee for the study. She said: “I suffered from viral meningitis in September 2010 and was in hospital for 3 weeks. Although I recovered I have never felt the same and still experience frequent bouts of headaches, nausea and other symptoms. I contacted MRF to find out more about the disease and the information and help I received from them was excellent. I feel honoured to be involved in researching the disease and hopefully we can find a way to help people who contract viral meningitis in the future.”

This new study is one of a series on severe infections of the nervous system run by BrainInfectionsUK, part of the Liverpool Brain Infections Group at the University of Liverpool.

If you would like to know further information about the study and which hospitals are taking part please visit the website. www.braininfectionsuk.org/meningitisnw or contact Dr Fiona McGill, Clinical Research Fellow at Liverpool Brain Infections Group on 0151 706 4016

Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

If you want to know more about this story call me on 0333 405 626251, out of office hours on 07875 498047 or email me