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Clinical signs of bacterial meningitis at admission
Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine volume 17, Article number: P13 (2009)
To identify clinical signs of high sensitivity in adult community acquired bacterial meningitis on the time of admission to a hospital.
All adult cases of culture positive cerebrospinal fluids in East Denmark from 2002 to 2004 were included. Medical records were collected retrospectively with 98.4% case completeness.
132 cases were included. Only 40% had the "typical triad of symptoms" (altered consciousness, fever and nuchal rigidity). 89% had clinically altered consciousness, 77% had fever, 73% had nuchal rigidity, 70% reported headache, 16% reported convulsions prior to admission, 14% had petechiae.
75% had 3 or more of the 6 clinical signs mentioned above.
Petechiae were registered only among meningococcal (n = 11; 61% of cases) or pneumococcal (n = 6; 8% of cases) aetiology.
"3 out of 6 clinical cardinal symptoms" was more sensitive in detecting community acquired bacterial meningitis than the "typical triad of symptoms".