Encephalitis and meningitis

Red flags

Consider urgent referral for patients with the following:

  • Suspicion of encephalitis/meningitis should prompt urgent transfer to Emergency
  • Flu like symptoms associated with
    • Headache
    • Confusion
    • Seizures
    • Altered movement or sensation
    • Diplopia
    • Dysarthria, dysphasia
    • Petechial rash

Encephalitis/meningitis is an inflammation of the brain or meninges most commonly caused by viral infection or bacterial infection. Encephalitis can be mild and self-limiting but can also be a rapidly progressive and potentially life threatening condition and all patients suspected of having this diagnosis with any red flags should be transferred urgently to Emergency.

Suspected meningitis cases should always be transferred urgently to Emergency. Most cases are likely to be managed by Neurology, General Medicine or Infectious Diseases after initial treatment in Emergency.

Other important information for referring practitioners