Recurrent Meningitis Causes

Information about known causes of recurrent meningitis.

Recurrent Meningitis Causes1

Autoimmune Diseases

Behcet’s Disease
Behcet’s Disease, also known as Behcet’s syndrome, is a rare, chronic, autoimmune, autoinflammatory disorder of unknown origin.

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Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA/formerly called Wegener’s granulomatosis) is systemic, meaning that the effect of inflammation can be present in the entire body.  It affects the upper (sinuses and nose), and lower (lungs), respiratory system and frequently involves the kidneys, lungs, eyes, ears, throat, skin and other body organs.

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Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints.

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Sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis (pronounced SAR-COY-DOE-SIS) is an inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of granulomas, tiny clumps of inflammatory cells, in one or more organs of the body.

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Sjogren’s Syndrome
Sjögren’s (“SHOW-grins”) is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. Along with symptoms of extensive dryness, other serious complications include profound fatigue, chronic pain, major organ involvement, neuropathies, and lymphomas.

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Systemic lupus erythematosus
Systemic lupus is the most common form of lupus—it’s what most people mean when they refer to “lupus.” Systemic lupus can be mild or severe.

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Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome
Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease is a rare disorder of unknown origin that affects many body systems, including as the eyes, ears, skin, and the covering of the brain and spinal cord (the meninges).

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Infections

Bacteria
Known bacterial causes for recurrent meningitis include Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli.

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Fungi
Known fungal causes for recurrent meningitis include Cryptococcus neoformans, Candida species, Histoplasma capsulatum, Coccidiodes immitis, and Blastomyces dermatitidis.

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Parasites
Known parasites that can cause recurrent meningitis include Echinococcosis species, Strongyloides stercoralis, and Toxoplasma gondii.

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Viral (Mollart's meningitis)
Known viral causes for recurrent meningitis include HSV-2, HSV-1, and EBV (HHV-4).

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Benign Tumors

Craniopharyngioma
Craniopharyngioma is a slow-growing, non-cancerous brain tumor that develops near the pituitary gland (a small endocrine gland at the base of the brain which produces several important hormones) and the hypothalamus (an endocrine organ which controls the release of hormones by the pituitary gland).

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Dermoid Cyst
A dermoid cyst is a saclike growth that is present at birth. It contains structures such as hair, fluid, teeth, or skin glands that can be found on or in the skin.

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Epidermoid Cyst
Epidermoid (ep-ih-DUR-moid) cysts are noncancerous small bumps beneath the skin. They can appear anywhere on the skin, but are most common on the face, neck and trunk.

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Malignant Neoplasias

Leptomeningeal Metastasis of Solid Tumors
Leptomeningeal metastasis (LM), i.e. the seeding of tumor cells to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the leptomeninges, is a devastating and mostly late-stage complication of various solid tumors.

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Leukemic Meningitis
In leukemic meningitis, cancer cells have spread from the original (primary) tumor to the meninges (thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord).

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Lymphomatous Meningitis
In lymphomatous meningitis, cancer cells have spread from the original (primary) tumor to the meninges (thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord).

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Medications

Antibiotics
Antibiotics known to cause recurrent meningitis include trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, cephalosporins, amoxicillin, and ciprofloxacin.
Anticonvulsants
Anticonvulsants known to cause recurrent meningitis include lamotrigine and carbamazepine.
Chemotherapeutic Drugs
Chemotherapeutic drugs known to cause recurrent meningitis include cetuximab and intrathecal chemotherapy.
Immunosuppressive Agents
Immunosuppressive agents known to cause recurrent meningitis include IVIG, methotrexate, azathioprine and TNF inhibitors (e.g., adalimumab, infliximab, etanercept).
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents
NSAIDs known to cause recurrent meningitis include ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, and sulindac.

Endnotes

  1. Rosenberg, J. & Galen, B.T. Curr Pain Headache Rep (2017) 21: 33. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-017-0635-7 or Recurrent Meningitis (PubMed)