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Aseptic meningitis

  • Alternative Names

    Sterile meningitis

    • Abdominal pain
    • Abnormal sensitivity to light (photophobia)
    • Chills
    • Confusion
    • Drowsiness
    • Fever
    • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
    • Headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Rash
    • Sore throat
    • Stiff neck

    Signs and tests

    Physical examination may show:

    • Fast heart rate
    • Fever
    • Stiff neck

    For any patient who is suspected of having meningitis, it is important to perform a lumbar puncture ("spinal tap"), in which spinal fluid (known as cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) is collected for testing.

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Blood culture
    • Chest x-ray
    • CSF examination for cell count, glucose, and protein
    • CT scan of the head
    • Gram stain, other special stains, and culture of CSF
    • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of CSF