Skip Navigation LinksHome > December 2012 - Volume 18 - Issue 6 > Acute Bacterial and Viral Meningitis
CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology:
doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000423846.40147.4f
Review Articles

Acute Bacterial and Viral Meningitis

Bartt, Russell MD, FAAN

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Abstract

ABSTRACT: Purpose of Review: Most cases of acute meningitis are infectious and result from a potentially wide range of bacterial and viral pathogens. The organized approach to the patient with suspected meningitis enables the prompt administration of antibiotics, possibly corticosteroids, and diagnostic testing with neuroimaging and spinal fluid analysis.

Recent Findings: Acute meningitis is infectious in most cases and caused by a potentially wide range of bacterial and viral pathogens. Shifts in the epidemiology of bacterial pathogens have been influenced by changes in vaccines and their implementation. Seasonal and environmental changes influence the likely viral and rickettsial pathogens.

Summary: The organized approach to the patient with suspected meningitis enables the prompt administration of antibiotics, possibly corticosteroids, and diagnostic testing with neuroimaging and spinal fluid analysis. Pertinent testing and treatment can vary with the clinical presentation, season, and possible exposures. This article reviews the epidemiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of acute meningitis.

© 2012 American Academy of Neurology

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