Meningitis is a medical term that refers to the damaging of the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by a number of viruses and bacteria. Aseptic meningitis describes the situation where the meningitis is caused by a virus. Bacterial meningitis describes the situation where the meningitis is caused by a bacteria.
The symptoms of meningitis vary depending on the cause of the meningitis. The central nervous system effects can be very mild and produce symptoms no worse than a headache, or they can be very severe and result in coma or death. Depending on the cause of the meningitis, other body systems may also be affected.