You are working in the emergency department of a regional hospital in rural Kentucky.

A patient is brought in by emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Their initial report is suspected meningitis because the patient has a headache and stiff neck. The EMTs add that the patient's meningitis symptoms appear rather mild--he still has neck movement, and the headaches are not severe. The patient's overall condition is poor, however. He is very thin, has dark spots on his face and upper body, and open bloody-looking eruptions on his lips. His fever is 104, and his blood pressure is low. He also has severe diarrhea.

1. What would be the first step in determining if the patient has meningitis?

2. What is the most likely etiologic agent?

3. Would antibiotics be used to treat the disease? Explain your answer.

4. What groups of people are at risk for this infection?

5. How did the patient likely get infected? Can infection be prevented?

4 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    1. Blood tests followed by microscopic exam of cerebrospinal fluid which is the definitive test. An elevated white count in the blood strongly indicates infection and the symptomology you describe is indicative of bacterial meningitis.

    2. The etiology of meningitis is determined by the specific agent of infection...could be viral, could be bacterial. The most common agents of bacterial meningitis is haemophilus influenzae type B (not so common now due to vaccinations), neisseria (meningococcal meningitis) or streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal meningitis).

    3. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viral. Viral meningitis is far more common than bacterial, less serious usually and resembles flu frequently. Following a culture and sensitivity test of the spinal fluid, the antibiotic to treat would be chosen from the agents to which the bacteria is sensitive. If antibiotic therapy is started before the results of the C&S, it is quite possible the antibiotic will be changed after the C&S to a more appropriate drug.

    4. Viral exposure is quite common among children, and basically anyone exposed to discharge from the nose or throat of an infected person can develop meningitis.

    5. Exposure to a virus or bacteria that causes meningitis. What you describe sounds more like bacterial meningitis and yes, can be prevented. Vaccinations, disease reporting, travel precautions when travelling to areas with outbreaks, and treatment of close contacts to those infected all help.

    Source(s): nurse
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    My mother was a RN at a Psychiatric Hospital for almost 30 years. After 18 years of teaching middle school, I now teach at a Residential Treatment Center (ages 10-17), which is a cross between a psych hospital and secure detention. I love animals, and it would be too hard to see abused animals brought in. . . SO, I'll say Psychiatric Hospital.

  • 1 decade ago

    1. I'd call someone with medical training and experience.

    2. That depends on what "etiolic" means.

    3. Definite "maybe". I'd try that before VooDoo, but I can't rule that out, either.

    4. In the absence of better data, I'll go with "everyone".

    5. He was exposed to the disease. It could be prevented by avoiding exposure.

    That may be about as good an answer as you're going to get in the Legal section of Yahoo. Sorry.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Anyone in this section would wait until he died, and then sue their asses for millions of dollars, drag it out for years, get as much in legal fees as possible, and then settle it out of court.


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