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Meningitis - cryptococcal

  • Alternative Names

    Cryptococcal meningitis


    Symptoms

    Unlike bacterial meningitis, this form of meningitis comes on more slowly, over a few days to a few weeks. Symptoms may include:

    • Fever
    • Hallucinations
    • Headache
    • Mental status change
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
    • Stiff neck

    Signs and tests

    Physical examination will usually show:

    • Fast heart rate
    • Fever
    • Mental status changes
    • 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
    • Cryptococcal antigen in CSF or blood
    • CSF examination for cell count, glucose, and protein
    • CT scan of the head
    • Gram stain, other special stains, and culture of CSF