Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain (meninges) and spinal cord. Encephalitis, on the other hand, refers to inflammation of the brain itself.
Both diseases can occur suddenly and progress very rapidly. In extreme cases, they can cause severe, irreversible neurological damage, and even death. Infectious causes of meningitis and encephalitis include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
Patient management is highly dependent on pathogen identification. Rapid and accurate diagnosis, along with early medical intervention of aggressive treatment, can significantly improve patient outcomes, and the chances for a full recovery. Learn more about these diseases and laboratory diagnostic strategies in the infographic below.