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Meningococcal Meningitis Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Francisco de Assis Aquino Gondim, MD, MSc, PhD, FAAN; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MD, DM  more...
 
Updated: Jun 15, 2016
 
 

Diagnostic Considerations

In addition to the diseases listed under Differentials, conditions that can mimic the symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include the following:

Rocky Mountain spotted fever[11]

  • Streptococcal meningitis
  • Listerial meningitis
  • Adrenal failure
  • Sepsis
  • Multiorgan failure
  • HIV-1 Associated CNS Conditions: Meningitis
  • HIV-1 Associated Opportunistic Infections: CNS Cryptococcosis
  • HIV-1 Associated Opportunistic Infections: CNS Toxoplasmosis
  • HIV-1 Associated Opportunistic Infections: Cytomegalovirus Encephalitis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Intracranial epidural abscess

Meningitis due to N meningitidis may, at presentation, be impossible to differentiate from other types of meningitis. Moreover, in the early stages, meningococcal meningitis may be misdiagnosed as a viral infection, and the patient may be discharged from an emergency department.

Differential Diagnoses

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Francisco de Assis Aquino Gondim, MD, MSc, PhD, FAAN Professor Adjunto of Neurology and Clinical Skills, Department of Internal Medicine, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brazil

Francisco de Assis Aquino Gondim, MD, MSc, PhD, FAAN is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

Disclosure: Received travel grants from for: Aché, Biogen, Genzyme, Ipsen, Novartis.

Coauthor(s)

Manish K Singh, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Teaching Faculty for Pain Management and Neurology Residency Program, Hahnemann University Hospital, Drexel College of Medicine; Medical Director, Neurology and Pain Management, Jersey Institute of Neuroscience

Manish K Singh, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Headache Society, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, American Medical Association, American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Florian P Thomas, MD, PhD, Drmed, MA, MS Director, National MS Society Multiple Sclerosis Center; Professor and Director, Clinical Research Unit, Department of Neurology, Adjunct Professor of Physical Therapy, Associate Professor, Institute for Molecular Virology, St Louis University School of Medicine; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine

Florian P Thomas, MD, PhD, Drmed, MA, MS is a member of the following medical societies: Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Niranjan N Singh, MD, DM Associate Professor of Neurology, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine

Niranjan N Singh, MD, DM is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, American Headache Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Norman C Reynolds, Jr, MD Neurologist, Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Milwaukee; Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

Norman C Reynolds, Jr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, Association of Military Surgeons of the US, International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, Sigma Xi, Society for Neuroscience

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author Sidney E Croul, MD, to the development and writing of the source article.

References
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Head CT demonstrates enlargement of the temporal horns indicating increased intracranial pressure (horizontal open large arrow). The closed arrowhead shows small intracerebral hemorrhage foci on the right temporal lobe, and the curved arrow shows the effect of increased intracranial pressure on the cerebellum.
Head CT shows small intracerebral hemorrhage foci (vertical closed arrow). Basal ganglia can also not be visualized because of diffuse edema (oblique closed arrow). The black arrow head on the left shows soft tissue edema.
 
 
 
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