Meningitis case definitions

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Case definitions for meningococcal disease

The public health action required depends on the case definition, regardless of whether a case is an isolated case or part of a cluster.

The case definitions used are described below.

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Confirmed case

Clinical diagnosis of meningitis or septicaemia confirmed microbiologically as caused by Neisseria meningitidis. Meningococcal infection of joint, heart, or eye (including conjunctiva) should also be regarded as a confirmed case for public health action.

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Probable case

Clinical diagnosis of meningitis or septicaemia without microbiological confirmation in which the CCDC (or deputy), in consultation with the clinician managing the case, considers that meningococcal disease is the most likely diagnosis. In the absence of an alternative diagnosis a feverish, ill patient with a petechial/¬purpuric rash should be regarded as a probable case of meningococcal septicaemia.

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Possible case

As probable case, but the CCDC (or deputy), in consultation with the clinician managing the case, considers that diagnoses other than meningococcal disease are at least as likely. This category includes cases treated with antibiotics whose probable diagnosis is viral meningitis. Public health action is NOT required for "possible" cases (but they should still be notified promptly in case the diagnosis changes, or there is misplaced public concern about the case).

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See also

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