Why should acute bacterial meningitis be the first diagnosis considered in patients with headache, neck stiffness, fever, and altered mental status?

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

Bacterial meningitis must be the first and foremost consideration in the differential diagnosis of patients with headache, neck stiffness, fever, and altered mental status. Acute bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency, and delays in instituting effective antimicrobial therapy result in increased morbidity and mortality.


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