There are more cases of viral meningitis in Marathon County this year than in the last two years. The county has already recorded 18 cases so far this year – more than the five cases in all of 2006 and the 17 cases in all of 2005. Viral meningitis is an inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain or spinal cord. Epidemiologist Ruth Marx says this form is spread through viruses in fecal matter or respiratory secretions. Marx says symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, and include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and fatigue. Marx says viral meningitis is less life-threatening than bacterial meningitis, and you can prevent getting or spreading the disease by thoroughly washing your hands after using the bathroom and blowing your nose.

AUDIO: Matt Lehman reports (:45 MP3)

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