Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Meningitis Evaluation

The evaluation of meningitis begins with a history and physical examination.

A person with viral meningitis may have a bad headache, but usually does not appear seriously ill. A person with bacterial meningitis appears very ill. Very young children and the elderly may have few symptoms or signs of meningitis.

Physical findings in someone with meningitis may include:


Testing is necessary to confirm the diagnosis of meningitis.

Tests that may be used to evaluate meningitis may include:

For more information:

Continue to Meningitis Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Meningitis References
  1. Attia J, Hatala R, Cook DJ, Wong JG. The rational clinical examination. Does this adult patient have acute meningitis? JAMA. 1999 Jul 14;282(2):175-81. [10411200]
  2. Pintado V, Cabellos C, Moreno S, Meseguer MA, Ayats J, Viladrich PF. Enterococcal meningitis: a clinical study of 39 cases and review of the literature. Medicine (Baltimore). 2003 Sep;82(5):346-64. [14530784]
  3. Sutlas PN, Unal A, Forta H, Senol S, Kirbas D. Tuberculous meningitis in adults: review of 61 cases. Infection. 2003 Dec;31(6):387-91. [14735380]
  4. van de Beek D, de Gans J, McIntyre P, Prasad K. Steroids in adults with acute bacterial meningitis: a systematic review. Lancet Infect Dis. 2004 Mar;4(3):139-43. [14998499]
  5. van de Beek D, de Gans J, Spanjaard L, Sela S, Vermeulen M, Dankert J. Group a streptococcal meningitis in adults: report of 41 cases and a review of the literature. Clin Infect Dis. 2002 May 1;34(9):e32-6. [11941569]
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