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an acute infectious disease of children and young adults, caused by Neisseria meningitidis and characterized by fever, headache, photophobia, vomiting, nuchal rigidity, seizures, coma, and a purpuric eruption. Even in the absence of meningitis, meningococcemia can induce toxic phenomena such as vasculitis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, shock, and Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome due to adrenal hemorrhage; late complications include paralysis, mental retardation, and gangrene of the extremities.
cerebrospinal meningitisA nonspecific term of the pre-antibiotic era loosely equivalent to meningitis. It has been regarded—in some cases, incorrectly—as synonymous for various bacterial and viral meningitides. In the working medical practice, more specific labels needs should be attached to the clinical presentation, including:
• Acute pyogenic meningitis;
• Bacterial meningitis;
• Epidemic meningitis;
• Meningococcal meningitis;
• Nonbacterial meningitides.