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My doctor thinks I might have bacterial meningitis. Wants more info to confirm, but I am worried. What exactly is it?

21 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
11 doctors agree

In brief: Viral meningitis?

Bacterial meningitis (bm) is a life-threatening infection in the fluid surrounding the brain & spinal cord.
Symptoms are sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting often accompanied by seizures, confusion, & coma. Suspicion of bm, based on history & physical exam mandates immediate diagnostic spinal tap. If you had bm you wouldn't be surfing the internet. Perhaps viral meningitis.

In brief: Viral meningitis?

Bacterial meningitis (bm) is a life-threatening infection in the fluid surrounding the brain & spinal cord.
Symptoms are sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting often accompanied by seizures, confusion, & coma. Suspicion of bm, based on history & physical exam mandates immediate diagnostic spinal tap. If you had bm you wouldn't be surfing the internet. Perhaps viral meningitis.
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Dr. Steven Machtinger
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1 comment
Dr. Martin Raff
Or fungal meningitis, which, like tuberculous meningitis can present with a chronic clinical picture. You should have a spinal tap done if your symptoms suggest meningitis, since this can also be due to cancer, foreign body reactions (if you had spinal anesthesia, etc.), and parasites.
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics
6 doctors agree

In brief: Hope Dr got info

Your brain & spinal cord are surrounded by a layer of cushion like material like bubble wrap.
These meninges float along within layers of sterile fluid that helps cushion your brain & cord from jaring trauma. If germs get into these layers, they can begin to attack your brain & cause death or permanent damage. The basic confirmatory test is a spinal tap, withdrawing some fluid & looking for germs.

In brief: Hope Dr got info

Your brain & spinal cord are surrounded by a layer of cushion like material like bubble wrap.
These meninges float along within layers of sterile fluid that helps cushion your brain & cord from jaring trauma. If germs get into these layers, they can begin to attack your brain & cause death or permanent damage. The basic confirmatory test is a spinal tap, withdrawing some fluid & looking for germs.
Dr. James Ferguson
Dr. James Ferguson
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Dr. Cindy Juster
Pediatrics
5 doctors agree

In brief: Infected brain liner

It's a bacterial infection of the lining of the brain.
A spinal tap must be done to withdraw spinal fluid to diagnose this serious infection, and IV antibiotics and hospitalization are generally required. Regardless of the cause of your symptoms, i hope you have a speedy recovery.

In brief: Infected brain liner

It's a bacterial infection of the lining of the brain.
A spinal tap must be done to withdraw spinal fluid to diagnose this serious infection, and IV antibiotics and hospitalization are generally required. Regardless of the cause of your symptoms, i hope you have a speedy recovery.
Dr. Cindy Juster
Dr. Cindy Juster
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