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Condition/Disorder Synonyms

  • Meningitis

  • Haemophilus meningitis

  • Hemophilus meningitis

ICD-9-CM Codes

  • 320 Bacterial meningitis

  • 320.0 Hemophilus meningitis

  • 321.0 Cryptococcal meningitis

  • 320.1 Pneumococcal meningitis

  • 320.2 Streptococcal meningitis

  • 320.3 Staphylococcal meningitis

  • 320.7 Meningitis in other bacterial diseases classified elsewhere

  • 320.89 Meningitis due to other specified bacteria

ICD-10-CM Codes

  • G00.9 Bacterial meningitis

  • A48.8 Meningitis in other bacterial diseases classified elsewhere

  • G00.8 Meningitis due to other specified bacteria

Preferred Practice Patterns

  • 5A: Primary prevention/risk reduction for loss of balance and falling1

  • 5C: Impaired motor function and sensory integrity associated with nonprogressive disorders of the central nervous system—congenital origin or acquired in infancy or childhood1

  • 5D: Impaired motor function and sensory integrity associated with nonprogressive disorders of the central nervous system—acquired in adolescence or adulthood1

  • 5I: Impaired arousal, range of motion (ROM), and motor control associated with coma, near coma, or vegetative state1

Key Features


  • Infection of the meninges of the brain and spinal cord caused by a spread of bacteria

  • Severity and extent causes a wide range of neurologic signs and symptoms, generally nonfocal in nature

Essentials of Diagnosis

  • Bacterial meningitis is rare.

  • Infection can result due to the following:

  • Onset of symptoms is very rapid and considered as a medical emergency.

  • Commonly nosocomial or iatrogenic.

  • No physical test distinguishes a bacterial from a viral infection; must rely on body fluid cultures.

  • If a central nervous system infection is suspected, the therapist should seek information regarding a potential source of infection or a condition that predisposed the patient to infection.

General Considerations

  • Bacterial meningitis is caused by a wide range of bacteria:

    • - Most common forms of meningitis include pneumococcal, influenza, and meningococcal worldwide; other bacteria cause meningitis but may be less common in some parts of the world.

    • - Hemophilus meningitis is caused by the Haemophilus influenzae bacteria (Hib).

      • Most common form of meningitis

      • Acquired most likely following an upper respiratory infection

      • Rare; mostly limited to secondary to vaccine


  • Approximately 3/100,000 in the United States; 500/100,000 in Africa2

Clinical Findings

Signs and Symptoms

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Headache

  • Stiff neck

  • Skin rash

  • Change in mental status (confusion, delirium)

  • Fever or hypothermia

  • Malaise

  • Impaired heart, lung, liver, kidney function

  • Seizure, generalized convulsions

  • Sensory deficit/change

  • Motor deficit/change

  • With increased intracranial pressure, papilledema may develop

  • With prolonged infection, cranial nerves may become effected

Functional Implications

  • Loss of mobility temporarily with permanent loss possible

  • Loss of hearing/vestibular function in some cases

  • Loss of coordination (fine and gross motor) temporarily with ...

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