[Meningitis (I)--differential diagnosis; aseptic and chronic meningitis].

Leib, Stephen; Täuber, Martin G. (1999). [Meningitis (I)--differential diagnosis; aseptic and chronic meningitis]. Therapeutische Umschau, 56(11), pp. 631-639. Huber 10.1024/0040-5930.56.11.631

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Meningitis is the most common serious manifestation of infection of the central nervous system. Inflammatory involvement of the subarachnoid space with meningeal irritation leads to the classical triad of headache, fever, and meningism, and to a pleocytosis of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Meningitis is clinically categorized into an acute and chronic disease based on the acuity of symptoms. Acute meningitis develops over hours to days, while in chronic meningitis symptoms evolve over days or even weeks. Aseptic meningitis, in which no bacterial pathogen can be isolated by routine cultures, can mimic bacterial meningitis, but the disease has a much more favorable prognosis. Many cases of aseptic meningitis are caused by viruses, primarily enteroviruses, but bacteria and noninfectious etiologies also cause meningitis with negative cultures. Symptoms of meningeal inflammation with CSF pleocytosis that persist for more than 4 weeks define the chronic meningitis syndrome. The diagnosis is based on the patient history, clinical evidence of meningitis, CSF examination, and often imaging studies. The differential diagnosis is broad, and the predominant CSF cell type can provide clues as to the underlying disease. Empiric therapy is primarily based on the age of the patient, with modifications if there are positive findings on CSF gram stain or if the patient presents with special risk factors. In patients with chronic meningitis, a definite diagnosis is often not available or delayed for days, in which case empiric therapy may have to be initiated. It is important to cover the treatable causes of meningitis, for which the outcome is poor if treatment is delayed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases
04 Faculty of Medicine > Faculty Institutions > Teaching Staff, Faculty of Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Leib, Stephen, Täuber, Martin G.


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Stephen Leib

Date Deposited:

01 Sep 2014 14:27

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:34

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