Thousands of children with meningitis go to hospital emergency rooms each year and that's scary.
If it turns out they have viral meningitis, you can breathe a sigh of relief because that can be treated at home. But if it is bacterial meningitis, a red flag should gone up, because that can be deadly and it means time in the hospital with intravenous antibiotics ASAP
Now, here's what's new. Instead of culturing all the kids in the hospital and waiting sometimes for days to find out which meningitis it is. Researchers have figured out a new way to diagnose which is which.
"The absence of a seizure as well as defined blood and spinal fluid tests identified a low-risk group for bacterial meningitis and in that group, the risk of bacterial meningitis was one in a thousand," says Lise Nigrovic, M.D., Children's Hospital of Boston.
The results of those tests are back in minutes, not days, with a 99.9 % accuracy. This means kids don't have to take antibiotics if they don't need them or stay in the hospital when they can go home.
Researchers studied about 3,000 cases of meningitis to come up with this assessment test.