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Noninfectious Meningitis

By

John E. Greenlee

, MD, University of Utah Health

Last full review/revision Dec 2020| Content last modified Dec 2020
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Symptoms of noninfectious meningitis are similar to those caused by other kinds of meningitis (eg, headache, fever, nuchal rigidity). Severity and acuity can vary, but noninfectious meningitis tends to be less severe than acute bacterial meningitis Acute Bacterial Meningitis Acute bacterial meningitis is rapidly progressive bacterial infection of the meninges and subarachnoid space. Findings typically include headache, fever, and nuchal rigidity. Diagnosis is by... read more .

Diagnosis of noninfectious meningitis is based on analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) obtained by lumbar puncture Lumbar puncture Acute bacterial meningitis is rapidly progressive bacterial infection of the meninges and subarachnoid space. Findings typically include headache, fever, and nuchal rigidity. Diagnosis is by... read more (preceded by neuroimaging if increased intracranial pressure or an intracranial mass effect is suspected). CSF findings may include

  • Lymphocytic or neutrophilic pleocytosis

  • Elevated protein

  • Usually normal glucose

Treatment of noninfectious meningitis involves treating causative disorders and stopping causative drugs. Otherwise, treatment is supportive.

If patients appear seriously ill, appropriate antibiotics and corticosteroids are started immediately (without waiting for tests results) and continued until acute bacterial meningitis is ruled out (ie, CSF is shown to be sterile).

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