In this video from the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Pritish Tosh talks a little about bacterial meningitis, a condition that can resemble the symptoms of influenza in its early stages.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial meningitis can be severe enough to cause death within a few hours of infection. However, the majority of people infected are able to recover without sustaining any long-term injury. The CDC reports that in the US there were 4100 reported cases - which includes 500 fatalities - of bacterial meningitis between 2003 and 2007, resulting from infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae, group B Streptococcus, N. meningitidis, H. influenzae, and L. monocyteogenes, some of the primary causes of bacterial meningitis.
The various bacteria that cause meningitis can spread from person to person, but fortunately it is not as contagious as flu or cold viruses, and is not spread through casual contact. Living with a person who has bacterial meningitis is a risk factor, and people who have compromised immune systems can also be at risk for the disease. Completing the appropriate vaccine schedule, maintaining good hygiene, avoiding cigarette smoke and getting enough rest is usually enough to prevent the illness.