Meningitis Essay

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Meningitis Case Study 1. Why does the physician suspect either meningitis or encephalitis? Heather exhibited symptoms that suggested either illness. Sudden fever, severe headache, vomiting, drowsiness and a stiff neck are symptoms of meningitis, while fever, seizures, change in behavior, disorientation and partial paralysis are symptoms of encephalitis. Heather had a stiff neck, felt tired, had a fever and was disoriented prior to going to the clinic. On the way to the clinic, she vomits. At the clinic, she becomes further disoriented and appears to fall into a sort of paralysis with her eyes open while ‘sleeping’. During the physician examination, Heather vomits again and has a seizure. 2. If the diagnosis is in doubt, why are antibiotics administered immediately? If a patient has bacterial meningitis, it is known that they can become dangerously ill within 24 hours of showing the first symptoms. Acute bacterial meningitis can even be fatal in a few hours. If the physician suspects Heather has bacterial meningitis, they will treat her with antibiotics immediately. Early treatment with antibiotics can reduce the risk of dying dramatically. 3. How do the results obtained from the spinal tap and blood sample support the diagnosis? The spinal tap shows a majority of the leukocytes are neutrophils, which is a sign of meningitis. In addition, a low glucose level in the CSF is a sign of meningitis. A normal glucose level in the CSF is anywhere from 50-80 mg/dL, where Heather’s was at 18 mg/dL. Elevated blood white blood cells are also a sign of infection; normal white blood cell count is anywhere from 4,500-10,000 WBC/µL. Heather’s WBC count was at 18,000 WBC/µL. How do the results obtained from the spinal tap rule out viral encephalitis? Diplococci was present in the CSF and this is a common result if the patient has bacterial meningitis. If the patient

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