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Bacterial Encephalitis Evaluation
- Brudzinski sign:
- Kernig sign:
- Extending the knees with the hips flexed causes pain and muscle spasms
- Petechial rash:
- Meningococcal infection may cause a rash that looks like broken blood vessels.
Testing is necessary to determine the underlying cause for encephalitis.
Tests that may be used to evaluate encephalitis include:
- Spinal tap:
- This is the most important test to diagnose meningitis
- Encephalitis or meningitis may cause the spinal fluid to become cloudy
- The fluid can be rapidly tested for the presence of bacteria
- Blood cultures
- Complete blood count
- Serologic tests for bacteria, fungi and viruses
Less commonly used tests that may be used to evaluate encephalitis include:
For more information:
Continue to Bacterial Encephalitis Treatment
PubMed Bacterial Encephalitis References
- Debiasi RL, Tyler KL. Molecular methods for diagnosis of viral encephalitis. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2004 Oct;17(4):903-25, table of contents. 
- Kennedy PG. Viral encephalitis: causes, differential diagnosis, and management. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 Mar;75 Suppl 1:i10-5. 
- Vernet G. Diagnosis of zoonotic viral encephalitis. Arch Virol Suppl. 2004;(18):231-44.