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Meningitis diagnosis - false negative test?

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Hi I care for someone who has learning disabilities and he has got all the symptoms of meningitis swollen rashy hand feet and across his body the rash stays when pressed with a glass he seems to have a headache I cant tell if he has got neck ache he doesn't like the light usually he is a very lively noisy person but he is totally subdued he has a temperature that comes and goes and when he got up he needed to be supported to walk which is not normal he has vomited once. He has had the rash for 24hrs. We took him to hospital they did a blood test and said that it isn't meningitis just a virus that looks like it. Could the test be wrong? I know I am probably worrying over nothing but i would really appreciate some advice!

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replied April 3rd, 2009
Meningitis Answer A6232

Meningitis is a condition in which the meninges are inflamed. The most often symptoms include: high fever, headache, intolerance to light and sometimes to loud noises, and pain when in specific postures. There are also several signs that are usually easily recognizable by a doctor.
Lumbar puncture is the definitive test for meningitis. However, it should not be performed, if the other signs and the blood laboratory tests do not indicate meningitis.
The symptoms might be related to a virus that caused similar signs as in meningitis. However, it can not be told whether the virus will spread to the meninges and start real meningitis.

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