Meningitis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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CNS infection with inflammation of leptomeninges defined by an increased number of WBCs in the CSF often associated with fever, nuchal rigidity, headache, and altered mental status.


  • Bacterial:
    • Neonates: Group B Streptococcus, Escherichia coli and other enteric bacilli, Listeria monocytogenes
    • Children/adults: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, group B Streptococcus and gram-negative bacilli (<3 yr)
    • Elderly/alcoholic: S. pneumoniae, gram-negative bacilli, Listeria spp.
    • Neurosurgical patients: Staphylococcus and gram-negative organisms
    • Transplant recipients and dialysis patients: Increased incidence of Listeria spp. infection
    • AIDS: Above, plus tuberculosis, fungal, syphilis
  • Viral
  • Fungal
  • Chemical, drug, or toxin induced

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