The incubation period of meningitis is about five days, reports the Meningitis Research Foundation. The condition can be caused by a variety of bacteria, but meningococcal bacteria can cause the most serious meningitis cases.
Although the bacteria that cause meningitis are common, most people are naturally immune and do not develop the disease. Meningitis occurs when the bacteria leave the mouth and throat and migrate to other area of the body, according to the Meningitis Research Foundation. Babies and young children can be more susceptible to the disease. Severe headache, nausea, confusion and a stiff neck are the most common symptoms of meningitis.