Health A-Z

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Expected Duration

Viral meningitis tends to get better on its own in seven to 10 days. In contrast, if bacterial meningitis is not diagnosed and treated early, it can cause permanent disability or death. The length of time that medication is needed for bacterial meningitis depends on the person's age, response to the medication and other factors.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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