• Aseptic Meningitis

    Definition

    Meningitis happens when the spinal column and brain’s lining become inflamed. This lining is called the meninges. Aseptic meningitis occurs when there are signs of meningitis. However, when a sample of brain fluid is taken, bacteria or fungi are not seen or do not grow.
    Meningitis
    Meningitis
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    The most common causes of aseptic meningitis are:
      Viral infection due to:
      • Enteroviruses, such as Coxsackie virus
      • Sexually transmitted disease, such as herpes and HIV
      • Other viruses, varicella/zoster, rabies , mumps, and arboviruses like West Nile virus
    • Parasitic infection, such as Lyme disease
    • Mycoplasma, an usual bacteria that can cause pneumonia
    • Tuberculosis
    • Bacterial meningitis that has not been fully treated
    • Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, sarcoidosis , and Behcet’s disease
    • Cancer that has spread to the meninges
    • Infection near the spinal cord or brain
    • Certain medicines, such as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

    Risk Factors

    Factors that can increase your chance of developing aseptic meningitis include:
    • Being exposed to someone with a viral illness
    • The season—mostly occurs in late spring and summer
    • Working in a daycare or healthcare setting
    • Having a compromised immune system
    • Being a child or teenager—affects children and teens more often than adults
    • Taking certain medicines, such as NSAIDs

    Symptoms

    If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to meningitis. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions.
    • Headache
    • Fever and chills
    • Stiff neck
    • General feeling of illness
    • Sore throat
    • Fatigue
    • Rash
    • Muscle or abdominal pain
    • Mental confusion
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Nausea or vomiting

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
      You may need to have samples taken of your bodily fluids. This can be done with:
      You may have pictures taken of your brain. This can be done with:

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Most cases of aseptic meningitis improve with time. If the cause of the meningitis is known, your doctor may prescribe medication. Treatment options include:
    • Supportive care—Your doctor may recommend that you rest and drink plenty of fluids. You may need to be hospitalized to be monitored and to stay hydrated.
    • Medicine—If specific causes of meningitis are suspected, your doctor may advise that you take:
      • Antiviral medicine—to treat a viral infection
      • Antibiotics—to treat infections
      • Antifungal medicine
      • Pain medicine, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen
        Note : Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's syndrome . Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.
    • In certain cases, your doctor may advise that you stop some medicines.

    Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting aseptic meningitis, take the following steps:
      Wash your hands often, especially if you:
      • Are in close contact with a person who has an infection
      • Changed the diaper of an infant with an infection
    • If you work in a childcare or healthcare setting, clean objects and surfaces.
    • Be sure all of your vaccinations are up-to-date.

    RESOURCES

    Aseptic Meningitis.org http://asepticmeningitis.org

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada http://www.meningitis.ca

    References

    Aseptic meningitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated September 4, 2012. Accessed February 19, 2013.

    Ginsberg L, Kidd D. Chronic and recurrent meningitis. Pract Neurol . 2008;8(6):348-361.

    Jolles S, Sewell WA, Leighton C. Drug-induced aseptic meningitis: diagnosis and management. Drug Saf . 2000 Mar;22(3):215-26.

    Meningococcal disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/index.html . Accessed February 19, 2013.

    Norris C, Danis P, Gardner T. Aseptic meningitis in the newborn and young infant. Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(10):2761-2770. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/990515ap/2761.html .

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