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Meningitis Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Meningitis. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had meningitis symptoms?

    Why: to help determine the causative agent. Acute bacterial meningitis had a sudden onset with rigors and high fever. Viral meningitis is almost always a benign, self limiting condition lasting 4-10 days. Headache may follow for some weeks. Tuberculous and Cryptococcal meningitis causes a chronic meningitis commencing with a vague headache, tiredness, loss of appetite and vomiting.

  2. What symptoms of meningitis do you have?

    Why: meningitis can present in many ways, depending partly on the organism responsible. Possible symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck on moving chin toward the chest, irritability, rash, drowsiness, vomiting, seizures and sometimes psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations.

  3. What is the age of the person?

    Why: more difficult to diagnose meningitis in children e.g. symptoms in infants include fever, pallor, vomiting, lethargy, refusing to feed, bulging fontanelle, neck stiffness. The most likely organism causing meningitis (and thus antibiotic of choice) is influenced by age e.g. E.Coli or beta-hemolytic streptococci in neonates; Haemophilus influenza, meningococcus or tuberculosis in young children; meningococcus in young adults; pneumococcus in older adults; pneumococcus, listeria, tuberculosis, gram negative organisms or Cryptococcus in elderly or immunocompromised.

  4. Have you got a bacterial infection else-where?

    Why: Bacterial cause (especially Staphylococcus aureus) is usually secondary to a pus infection elsewhere e.g. abscess.

  5. Risk factors for meningitis?

    Why: e.g. crowding, poverty, malnutrition, head injury within the previous 2 weeks, recent sinusitis, recent mastoiditis, recent otitis media (middle ear infection), AIDS, previous splenectomy (removal of the spleen), diabetes mellitus, alcoholism, pneumonia, sickle cell disease, cancer.

  6. Recent head injury?

    Why: Basal skull fractures increase the risk of meningitis, especially within the following 2 weeks after the head injury. Pneumococcal infection is the most likely cause in this situation.

  7. Have you had a recent viral infection?

    Why: e.g. measles, varicella zoster (chicken pox), mumps, coxsackie, herpes simplex and influenza. Other more rare causes include Rabies, polio and HIV.

  8. Have you been bitten by a tick?

    Why: may suggest Lyme disease.

  9. Medications?

    Why: e.g. cytotoxic drug therapy for cancer causes immunocompromise and thus increases the risk of meningitis.

  10. Past surgical history?

    Why: e.g. removal of the spleen increases the risk of meningitis especially in young children in the first 2 years after surgery.

  11. Immunisations?

    Why: against Haemophilus influenza and Neisseria meningitidis.

  12. Sexual history?

    Why: The immunocompromised patient with AIDS is susceptible to a variety of infectious agents that can attack the central nervous system e.g. most commonly herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus.

  13. Alcohol history?

    Why: Alcoholism increases the risk of meningitis.

  14. Travel history?

    Why: may provide information concerning risk of poliomyelitis or malaria as cause of meningitis.

  15. Occupational history?

    Why: e.g. Leptospirosis usually occurs in veterinarians, those involved in animal husbandry and abattoir workers because the bacteria is usually excreted in animal urine and enters the host through a skin abrasion or through intact mucous menmbranes.

  16. Rash?

    Why: Any rash may be present with meningitis. A petechial (pinpoint sized hemorrhagic) rash is characteristic of meningococcal meningitis.

  17. Ear pain?

    Why: may suggest meningitis as complication of middle ear infection. Pneumococcal infection is the most likely cause in this situation.

  18. Pleuritic chest pain (chest pain that is worsened by deep breathing, coughing)?

    Why: may suggest Enterovirus as a cause of meningitis.

  19. Symptoms of increased intracranial pressure?

    Why: e.g. headache, drowsiness, vomiting, seizures. This may be a result of the meningitis. If these symptoms are present must perform a CT Brain before a lumbar puncture.

  20. Symptoms of sarcoidosis?

    Why: e.g. shortness of breath, cough, tiredness, joint pain, skin symptoms occur in 10% of cases and may include purple or brown plaques or nodules on face, nose, ears and neck in chronic sarcoidosis. Peripheral lymph node enlargement occurs in 5% of people. May be complicated by meningitis.

  21. Symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus?

    Why: e.g. butterfly shaped red facial rash, joint pain, muscle aches, Raynaud's phenomenon, depression. May be complicated by meningitis.

  22. Symptoms of Behcet's syndrome?

    Why: e.g. recurrent oral aphthous ulcers, recurrent genital aphthous ulcers, features of posterior uveitis (blurred vision and floaters), erythema nodosum (painful nodules on the arms and legs). May be complicated by meningitis.

  23. Symptoms of Leptospirosis?

    Why: e.g. headache, fever, malaise, loss of appetite, joint and muscle aches, conjunctivitis and enlarged lymph nodes. This phase may be followed by meningitis, jaundice and blood in the urine.

  24. Symptoms of tuberculous meningitis?

    Why: e.g. commences with a vague headache, tiredness, loss of appetite and vomiting. Stiff neck may appear only after some weeks.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Meningitis:

The following list of conditions have 'Meningitis' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Meningitis or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W Y

Conditions listing medical complications: Meningitis:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Meningitis' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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