Despite the availability of effective antibiotics, vaccination programmes and skilled acute-care facilities, there is still a significant mortality and morbidity from bacterial meningitis. Neurologists are often called on to “rule out bacterial meningitis”, which can be difficult with the history and physical examination alone. In this review the authors will discuss the epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of acute community-acquired bacterial meningitis in adults, focussing particularly on the management of patients with neurological complications, and stressing the importance of adjunctive dexamethasone.
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