Chronic Meningitis

Posted by e-Medical PPT Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Chronic meningitis is a slowly developing inflammation of the subarachnoid space that lasts a month or longer.Infectious organisms invade the brain or the subarachnoid space and multiply slowly over weeks or months. Such organisms include the bacteria that cause tuberculosis or syphilis and fungi such as Cryptococcus neoformans or Coccidioides immitis. These fungi are more likely to cause chronic meningitis in people with a weakened immune system, such as those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).Disorders that are not infections can also cause chronic meningitis. They include sarcoidosis and certain cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, and some cancers that spread to the brain from other parts of the body (such as breast or lung cancer).
The symptoms of chronic meningitis are similar to those of acute bacterial meningitis, except that they develop more slowly and gradually, usually over weeks rather than days. Also, fever is often less severe.
Headache, confusion, a stiff neck, and backache are common. People may have difficulty walking. Weakness, pins-and-needles sensations, numbness, facial paralysis, and double vision are also common. Facial paralysis and double vision occur when meningitis affects the cranial nerves.
Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head, followed by a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) with examination of the cerebrospinal fluid, can confirm the diagnosis.

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