The mainstay of treatment for bacterial meningitis is antibiotics ; choice of antibiotic depends on the organism isolated from blood and CNS cultures. Any delay in treatment results in increased morbidity and mortality, so antibiotics are often started empirically based on the age of the patient (see table in Etiology above) and any risk factors they may have (. if they are immunocompromised or have recently had neurosurgery). The antibiotic regimen is then adjusted once the causative organism is known. Corticosteroids can be used adjunctively to reduce inflammation in the brain if the pathogen is Streptococcus pneumoniae .
Treatment must be conducted with wide-spectrum antibiotics while other tests are being done and confirmed. Lumbar puncture, Ct or MRI scans, blood culture, chest x-ray, CSF examination for cell count, glucose and protein are among the tests used to determine the cause of, and/or rule out meningitis. Treatment is usually done while the patient is hospitalized. Even though it has been established that viral meningitis usually lasts up to 2 weeks, some long-term effects such as brain damage, loss of hearing and seizures can occur. Essentially, answering the question ‘how long does meningitis last?’ depend on the long-term effects and what caused it in the first place, and not necessarily the duration of active meningitis.
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