Pathophysiology

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord (meninges) and the CSF in contact with these membranes, whereas encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue. CSF flows through the subarachnoid space, insulating and protecting delicate CNS tissue. CSF is produced within the ventricles of the brain and flows downward through the spinal cord, serving as a continuous flushing mechanism for the CNS.

Table 70-1 Most Likely Pathogens and Recommended Empirical Therapy, by Risk Factor, for Bacterial Meningitis

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