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Diagnostic Tests for Meningitis

Diagnostic Test list for Meningitis:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Meningitis includes:

  • Physical investigations
    • General inspection noting level of consciousness and irritability
    • Examine skin for rash. Any rash may be present with meningitis. A petechial (pinpoint sized hemorrhagic) rash is characteristic of meningococcal meningitis
    • Temperature
    • Pulse rate (may be reduced due to increased intracranial pressure or increased due to sepsis)
    • Neck stiffness on moving chin towards the chest
    • Brudzinski's sign - may be positive in meningitis (i.e. hips flex when head is bent forward).
    • Nervous system examination for focal abnormalities that may occur depending on the part of the nervous system involved by the inflammatory process
  • Blood tests
    • Full blood count and ESR
    • Electrolytes
    • Renal function tests
    • Blood sugar
    • Blood culture
    • ANA and ds DNA autoantibodies, if suspect systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Leptospira antibodies, if indicated
  • Spinal tap (Lumbar puncture) - is the key test and should be done at once unless there are signs of increased intracranial pressure or focal neurological signs. Collect spinal fluid for microscopy, culture, virology, protein and glucose measurement. It may identify the virus or bacteria e.g. echovirus, coxsackie, mumps, herpes simplex, adenovirus, varicella zoster, influenza, measles.
  • Urine tests
    • Urine sample for microscopy and culture
    • Nose and throat swab - for culture which may identify the organism.
    • Stool sample for microscopy, virology and culture
  • Radiological investigations
    • Skull X-Ray, if history of head injury
    • CT or MRI Brain - Perform if diagnosis is in doubt, if suspect raised intracranial pressure or if there is focal neurological signs. It may visualize swelling of brain or associated abscess with bacterial infection.
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
  • CSF culture
  • Blood culture - Blood tests for bacteria.
  • Meningococcal rash pressure test - test a skin rash for the "failure to whiten under pressure" property of a meningococcal rash.

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Meningitis causes:

Tests and diagnosis discussion for Meningitis:

Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. If symptoms occur, the patient should see a doctor immediately. The diagnosis is usually made by growing bacteria from a sample of spinal fluid. The spinal fluid is obtained by performing a spinal tap, in which a needle is inserted into an area in the lower back where fluid in the spinal canal is readily accessible. Identification of the type of bacteria responsible is important for selection of correct antibiotics. (Source: excerpt from Meningococcal Disease (General): DBMD)

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.

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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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