What is the classic presentation of meningitis?

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

The classic triad of meningitis consists of fever, nuchal rigidity, and altered mental status, but not all patients have all 3, and almost all patients have headache. Altered mental status can range from irritability to somnolence, delirium, and coma. The examination reveals no focal neurologic deficits in the majority of cases. Furthermore, the majority of patients with bacterial meningitis have a stiff neck, but the meningeal signs are insensitive for diagnosis of meningitis. [19]


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