According to Dr. Ananya Mandal for News-Medical.net, meningitis has been described in many ancient texts. Hippocrates even wrote about the disease is his medical books. For this reason, it is believed to have been around for many years.
According to Dr. Mandal, the first officially documented outbreak of meningitis occurred 1805. Gaspard Vieusseux and Andre Matthey of Geneva reported an epidemic of the disease during the early 1800s. Elisa North of Massachusetts reported an epidemic in her area soon after that time. After these first outbreaks, many other outbreaks occurred in both Europe and the United States. The first outbreak in Africa was not documented until 1840. The disease’s origin is unknown; however, by the 19th century, it had been found and documented in Europe, North America and Africa. The disease originated many years previously, but medical documentation was not prevalent.