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Misdiagnosis of Meningococcal disease

Misdiagnosis of Meningococcal disease

A diagnosis of meningococcal disease may be delayed because some symptoms may initially be assumed to be related to another condition, such as influenza or migraine headache. Unfortunately, meningococcal disease can progress very rapidly and result in death. People with meningococcal disease have been known to go to bed early with a headache, nausea, and fever, thinking they have the flu, and have been found hours later in critical condition in a comatose state.

Because of the risk of the rapid develoment of serious complications and death, it is vital that people who have symptoms, such as a high fever, intense headache, and stiff neck, or have been exposed to meningococcal disease, seek immediate medical care....more about Meningococcal disease »

Alternative diagnoses list for Meningococcal disease:

For a diagnosis of Meningococcal disease, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Meningococcal disease:

Diseases for which Meningococcal disease may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Meningococcal disease is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Meningococcal disease: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Meningococcal disease may include these medical conditions:

  • Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcus)
  • more causes...»

Rare Types of Meningococcal disease:

Meningococcal disease: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Meningococcal disease

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms. Although the most common symptoms are anal itch (or vaginal itch), which are obvious in severe cases, milder conditions may fail to be noticed in children. In particular, it may interfere with the child's good night's sleep. Threadworm is a condition to consider in children with symptoms such as bedwetting (enuresis), difficulty sleeping, irritability, or other sleeping symptoms. Visual inspection of the region can often see the threadworms, at night when they are active, but they can also be missed this way, and multiple inspections can be warranted if worms are suspected. See the introduction to threadworm.

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed. Women with the condition tend to have heavy periods, since they actually have a bleeding disorder. Severe afflictions may result in the women receiving a hysterectomy unnecessarily, when the underlying cause has not been identified. See the introduction to Von Willebrand's disease and bleeding disorder.

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden inability to speak. This was initially misdiagnosed as a "nervous breakdown" and other mental conditions. He was later diagnosed as having had a stroke, and suffering from aphasia (inability to speak), a well-known complication of stroke (or other brain conditions).

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the "good" bacteria in the gut. This leads to "digestive imbalance" where there are too few remaining "good" bacteria in the digestive system. The treatment is typically to use "probiotics", such as by eating yoghurt cultures containing more of the good bacteria. See digestive imbalance and probiotics.

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can also occur from a side effect or interaction between multiple drugs that the elderly patient may be taking. There are also various other possible causes of dementia.

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed with fatal effect). One of the most common misdiagnosed is for children with mesenteric adenitis to be misdiagnosed as appendicitis. Fortunately, thus misdiagnosis is usually less serious than the reverse failure to diagnose appendicitis.

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can simply be too small to accurately test a child's blood pressure. This can lead to an incorrect diagnosis of a child with hypertension. The problem even has a name unofficially: "small cuff syndrome". See misdiagnosis of hypertension.

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild concussion diagnosis. The condition goes by the name of "mild traumatic brain injury" (MTBI). MTBI symptoms can be mild, and can continue for days or weeks after the injury. See the symptoms of MTBI or misdiagnosis of MTBI.

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked. This is particularly true of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), for which the symptoms are typically mild. The symptoms has also relate to a relatively mild brain injury (e.g. fall), that could have occurred days or even weeks ago. Vestibular dysfunction, causing vertigo-like symptoms, is a common complication of mild brain injury. See causes of dizziness, causes of vertigo, or misdiagnosis of MTBI.

Brain pressure condition often misdiagnosed as dementia: A condition that results from an excessive pressure of CSF within the brain is often misdiagnosed. It may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease or dementia (such as Alzheimer's disease). The condition is called "Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus" (NPH) and is caused by having too much CSF, i.e. too much "fluid on the brain". One study suggested that 1 in 20 diagnoses of dementia or Parkinson's disease were actually NPH. See misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their return. A variety of symptoms can occur in post-concussion syndrome and these were not being correctly attributed to their concussion injury. See introduction to concussion.

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. See misdiagnosis of migraine or introduction to migraine.

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency or misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Meningococcal disease: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Meningococcal disease

Failure to diagnose Meningococcal disease may be associated with the following:

  • Patients with the classic signs of meningitis (fever, rash, headache and rigid neck) are relatively easy to diagnose but patients who are old or debilitated or neonates may not have such obvious symptoms and are more prone to being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed
  • Viral meningitis is often undiagnosed because it generally has milder symptoms and tends to be misdiagnosed as the common flu. It is a less serious condition than bacterial meningitis

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Meningococcal disease

The following may be hidden causes of Meningococcal disease:

  • The most common causes of meningitis are Neisseria meningitidis and streptococcus pneumoniae. Less common causes are Listeria monocytogenes, gram-negative bacilli, haemophilis influenzae, Group B streptococcus, tuberculosis, Cryptococcus and viral infections such as Coxsackie and echovirus
  • Causes of chronic bacterial meningitis: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Treponema pallidum (neurosyphilis), Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), Brucella melitensis, Listeria monocytogenes and Nocardia asteroides
  • Causes of chronic fungal meningitis: Cryptococcus neoformans, Coccidiodes immitis, Histoplasma capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitides, Candida species and Sporothrix schenckii
  • Causes of chronic parasitic meningitis: Cysticercus cellulosae, C. racemosus, Toxoplasma gondii, Angistrongylus cantonensis, A. costaricensis and Schistosomiasis
  • Causes of chronic viral meningitis: HIV, echovirus
  • Non-infectious causes of chronic meningitis: sarcoidosis, rheumatological and vasculitic diseases (Cogan's syndrome, granulomatous angiitis of the CNS, vasculitis associated with herpes zoster ophthalmicus) and systemic vasculitides affecting the CNS (polyarteritis nodosa, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren's syndrome, Behcet's syndrome, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome, Wegener's granulomatosis). Malignancies that may be associated with chronic meningitis include: primary brain tumors (astrocytoma, glioblastoma, ependymoma, PNET tumors), metastatic tumors (breast, lung, thyroid, kidney, melanoma), meningeal carcinomatosis and chronic benign lymphocytic meningitis. Causes of chronic chemical meningitis may be caused by a spinal infection involving: contrast agents for radiological studies, chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics and local anesthetics. Chronic meningitis in immunocompromised patients (e.g. AIDS) may be caused by infectious diseases such as syphilis, aspergillosis, crytococcosis and toxoplasmosis
  • Causes of recurring bacterial meningitis: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria meningitides. Sometimes overlooked causes of recurring bacterial meningitis include skull fractures due to trauma or surgery which allow bacteria access to the brain. Other often overlooked congenital causes of recurring bacterial meningitis are: myelomeningocele, dermoid sinus with midline cranial sinus or spinal dermal sinus, petrous fistula and neurenteric cysts. Recurring bacterial infection may also result from: paranasal sinusitis, bacterial middle ear infection with chronic mastoid osteomyelitis, cranial or spinal epidural abscess, atypical bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Borrelia burgdoerferi, Brucella melitensis, Leptospira species), fungal infections (Cryptococcus neoformans, Coccidiodes immitis, Histoplasma capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitides, Candida species, Sporothrix Schenckii), parasitic infections (schistosomiasis, Toxoplasma gondii, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, A. costaricensis, Cysticercus cellulosae, C. racemosus) and certain viral infections (HIV, Echovirus). Noninfectious causes of recurring bacterial meningitis include polyarteritis nodosa, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren's syndrome, Behcet's syndrome, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome, Mollaret's meningitis. Cancerous causes of recurring bacterial meningitis include craniopharyngioma, ependymoma and cerebral hemangioma
  • There are numerous bacterial, viral, fungal organisms as well as non-infectious conditions that can cause meningitis which can make diagnosis difficult. AIDS patients have a poor immune system which allows normally harmless pathogens to invade the body and result in infections such as meningitis. Certain operations (transsphenoidal hypophysectomy) or closed head injuries can result in the risk of developing meningitis. Any condition involving a cerebrospinal fluid leak increases the risk of a pathogen entering the cerebrospinal fluid and causing meningitis. Certain medical conditions increase the risk of a person developing meningitis: alcoholism, diabetes mellitus, leukemia, lymphoma, pneumonia, respiratory tract infections, neutropenia and immunoglobulin deficiency
  • Kawasaki disease and partly treated bacterial meningitis may result in aseptic meningitis
  • The cytomegalovirus and the Epstein-Barr virus can cause meningitis in HIV patients
  • Risk factors for developing meningitis include: crowded living quarters, splenectomy, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, hypoparathyroidism, thalassemia major, adrenal insufficiency, malignancy, renal insufficiency, intravenous drug abuse, diabetes mellitus, bacterial endocarditis, alcoholism, spinal procedures and patients with CSF shunts or dural defects
  • Cochlea implantation may be an underlying cause of meningitis

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Meningococcal disease

Wrong diagnosis of Meningococcal disease may be associated with the following:

  • The fever, muscle pains and lethargy associated with meningitis may be misdiagnosed as influenza
  • Symptoms of early meningitis such as sore neck muscle and a mild flu-like illness may be misdiagnosed as a viral illness such as influenza
  • Appropriate treatment is vital for a good prognosis for meningitis but because there are so many possible causes, a specific diagnosis may be difficult to determine
  • The symptoms of bacterial meningitis may mimic other condition such as bacterial endocarditis, parameningeal infection, amebic meningoencephalitis, Lyme disease, Herpes encephalitis and cerebral toxoplasmosis
  • The various types of meningitis may present in varying ways which can hinder diagnosis. For example fungal meningitis may have a less severe presentation such as headache, low-grade fever and lethargy which could be put down to some generalized viral or bacterial infection
  • Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis may mimic migraines

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Meningococcal disease:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Meningococcal disease:

Misdiagnosis and Meningococcal disease deaths

Meningococcal disease is a condition that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Meningococcal disease or confirming a diagnosis of Meningococcal disease, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Meningococcal disease may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Meningococcal disease. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


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