a. Definition. Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges. The severity of the
disease is dependent upon the specific microorganism involved, the presence of other
neurological disorders, the general health of the patient, the speed of diagnosis, and the
initiation of treatment.
b. Causes of Meningitis.
(1) Travel of infectious microorganisms to the meninges via the bloodstream
or through direct extension from an infected area (such as the middle ear or paranasal
sinuses). Common microorganisms include:
Contaminated head injury.
Contaminated lumbar puncture.
c. Diagnostic Evaluation Techniques.
Lumbar puncture to identify the causative organism in the cerebrospinal
d. Signs and Symptoms.
Headache (often severe).
Nuchal rigidity (stiffness of the neck).