Web Results
Content Results
  • Meningitis


    Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The most common symptoms are fever, headache, and neck stiffness. Other symptoms include confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises. Young children often exhibit only nonspecific symptoms, such as irritability, drowsiness, or poor feeding. If a rash is present, it may indicate a particular cause of meningitis; for instance, meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied by a characteristic rash. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord; therefore, the condition is classified as a medical emergency. A lumbar puncture – in which a needle is inserted into the spinal canal to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), can diagnose or exclude meningitis. Some forms of meningitis are preventable by immunization with the meningococcal, mumps, pneumococcal, and Hib vaccines.

  • Viral meningitis


    Viral meningitis, also known as aseptic meningitis, is a type of meningitis due to a viral infection. It results in inflammation of the meninges (the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord). Symptoms commonly include headache, fever, sensitivity to light and neck stiffness. Viruses are the most common cause of aseptic meningitis. Most cases of viral meningitis are caused by enteroviruses (common stomach viruses). However, other viruses can also cause viral meningitis. For instance, West Nile virus, mumps, measles, herpes simplex types I and II, varicella and lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) virus. Based on clinical symptoms, viral meningitis cannot be reliably differentiated from bacterial meningitis, although viral meningitis typically follows a more benign clinical course. Viral meningitis has no evidence of bacteria present in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). Therefore, lumbar puncture with CSF analysis is often needed to identify the disease. In most cases, there is no specific treatment, with efforts generally aimed at relieving symptoms (headache, fever or nausea). A few viral causes, such as HSV, have specific treatments. In the United States, viral meningitis is the cause of more than half of all cases of meningitis. From 1988 to 1999, about 36,000 cases occurred a year. While the disease can occur in both children and adults, it is more common in children.

  • Mollaret's meningitis


    Mollaret's meningitis is a recurrent or chronic inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. Since Mollaret's meningitis is a recurrent, benign (non-cancerous), aseptic meningitis, it is now referred to as benign recurrent lymphocytic meningitis. It was named for Pierre Mollaret, the French neurologist who first described it in 1944. Although chronic meningitis has been defined as "irritation and inflammation of the meninges persisting for more than 4 weeks being associated with pleocytosis in the cerebrospinal fluid", cerebrospinal fluid abnormalities may not be detectable for the entire time. Diagnosis can be elusive, as Helbok et al. note: "in reality, many more weeks, even months pass by until the diagnosis is established. In many cases the signs and symptoms of chronic meningitis not only persist for periods longer than 4 weeks, they even progress with continuing deterioration, i. e. headache, neck stiffness and even low grade fever. Impairment of consciousness, epileptic seizures, neurological signs and symptoms may evolve over time."

Map Box 1