Updates in the Diagnosis of Meningitis and Encephalitis
Meningitis presents with some combination of neck stiffness, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and photophobia. Encephalitis is distinguished from meningitis by the presence of abnormal brain function as evidenced by altered mental status, motor or sensory deficits, altered behaviour or personality changes, and speech or movement disorders. When meningeal and parenchymal involvement both occur, there can be a mixed presentation of meningoencephalitis as is often seen with viral infections. Meningitis may be due to bacterial, mycobacterial, fungal (mainly Cryptococcus neoformans) or viral causes. Encephalitis is most frequently associated with a viral infection.