What should be the medical history focus when meningitis is suspected?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The history should also address the following:

  • Epidemiologic factors and predisposing risks such as mosquito bites (West Nile virus in endemic months, June-October in the United States)
  • Exposure to a sick contacts (small children with febrile illness)
  • Previous medical treatment and existing conditions
  • Geographic location and travel history
  • Season and temperature (enterovirus and West Nile virus in the summer and fall; herpes simplex virus type 2 year round)

Acute bacterial meningitis in otherwise healthy patients who are not at the extremes of age presents in a clinically obvious fashion; however, subacute bacterial meningitis often poses a diagnostic challenge.


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