After Effects

Most people who have meningitis make a full recovery, but it can take time.

Some may experience a range of different after-effects, which can range from mild to more serious and disabling. Many children and adults with meningitis recover without experiencing after-effects at all.

Bacterial Meningitis

After-effects and complications are more common with bacterial meningitis. Around 15% of patients are left with serious impairments that require on-going support. Many more survivors will experience a range of short-term or less serious problems.

Possible after-effects of bacterial meningitis include:

  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Acquired brain injury 
  • Balance problems
  • Cerebral palsy 
  • Behavioural changes
  • Blindness / vision loss (temporary or permanent)
  • Clumsiness
  • Concentration problems
  • Deafness / hearing loss
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Developmental delay (children)
  • Emotional changes
  • Epilepsy 
  • Headaches
  • Joint soreness / stiffness
  • Learning difficulties
  • Memory lapses
  • Mood swings
  • Temper tantrums
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears)




Viral Meningitis

Although it is rarely life threatening, viral meningitis  can make people very unwell. It is usually a mild illness characterized by fever, severe headache, aches and pains. After-effects of viral meningitis occur more often in newborn infants or in the elderly than in children, adolescents, or adults.

  Possible after-effects of viral meningitis include:

  •           Balance problems
  •           Concentration problems
  •           Depression
  •           Exhaustion
  •           Headaches
  •           Memory lapses
  •           Mood swings



Possible after-effects of septicaemia include:

  • Amputation
  • Diminished blood supply to the face, feet, toes, hands and fingers
  • Limb loss
  • Long rehabilitation and recovery period
  • Organ failure
  • Skin grafts