meningitismĕnĭnjī´tĭs [key] or cerebrospinal meningitissĕr˝əbrōspī´nəl [key], acute inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or other organisms, usually introduced via the bloodstream from infections elsewhere in the body.
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