Aseptic meningitis

Aseptic meningitis
Aseptic meningitis
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 G03 Nonpyogenic meningitis
ICD-9 322.0 Nonpyogenic meningitis
DiseasesDB 945
eMedicine NEURO/697
MeSH D008582

Aseptic meningitis, or sterile meningitis, is a condition in which the layers lining the brain, meninges, become inflamed and a pyogenic bacterial source is not to blame. Meningitis is diagnosed on a history of characteristic symptoms and certain examination findings (e.g., Kernig's sign). Investigations should show an increase in the number of leukocytes present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), obtained via lumbar puncture, (normal being fewer than five visible per microscopic High Power Field).

The term aseptic is frequently a misnomer, implying a lack of infection. On the contrary, many cases of aseptic meningitis represent infection with viruses[1] or mycobacteria that cannot be detected with routine methods. While the advent of polymerase chain reaction has increased the ability of clinicians to detect viruses such as enterovirus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes virus in the CSF, many viruses can still escape detection. Additionally, mycobacteria frequently require special stains and culture methods that make their detection difficult. When CSF findings are consistent with meningitis, and microbiologic testing is unrevealing, clinicians typically assign the diagnosis of aseptic meningitis—making it a relative diagnosis of exclusion.

Aseptic meningitis can result from non-infectious causes; it is a relatively infrequent side effect of medications, and can be an early finding in autoimmune disease.

There is no formal classification system. It is usually by the causative organism if identified.

"Aseptic meningitis", like non-gonococcal urethritis, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and atypical pneumonia, merely states what a condition is not, not what a condition is. Terms such as viral meningitis, bacterial meningitis, fungal meningitis, neoplastic meningitis and drug-induced aseptic meningitis can provide more information about the condition, and without using one of these more specific terms, it is difficult to describe treatment options or prognosis.

Types of aseptic meningitis

See also


  1. ^ "aseptic meningitis" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Benign recurrent aseptic meningitis — Recurring meningitis without identifiable cause that leaves no residual damage to the nervous system. Benign recurrent aseptic meningitis is also called Mollaret meningitis. The cause of benign recurrent aseptic meningitis is not known. Benign… …   Medical dictionary

  • Drug-induced aseptic meningitis — is a form of aseptic meningitis that is caused by the administration of certain medications.[1] Causes include: NSAIDs Amoxicillin Azathioprine Methotrexate Intravenous immunoglobulin Isoniazid Allopurinol Lamotrigine References ^ …   Wikipedia

  • acute aseptic meningitis — aseptic m …   Medical dictionary

  • Meningitis — Classification and external resources Meninges of the central nervous system: dura mater, arachnoid, and pia mater. ICD 10 G …   Wikipedia

  • Meningitis — Clasificación y recursos externos CIE 10 G00 G …   Wikipedia Español

  • Meningitis — Klassifikation nach ICD 10 G00 Bakterielle Meningitis G01 Meningitis bei anderenorts klassifizierten bakteriellen Krankheiten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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