Meningitis – tuberculous

Alternative Names

Tubercular meningitis; TB meningitis

Definition of Meningitis – tuberculous

Tuberculous meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Tuberculous meningitis is caused by the bacteria that cause tuberculosis The bacteria spread to the brain from another site in the body.


The symptoms usually begin gradually, and may include:

Signs and tests

Physical examination will usually show:


Treatment involves several antitubercular drugs at the same time, as it does for . Treatment sometimes must begin if the diagnosis is only suspected, not proved, in order to save a person’s life.

Expectations (prognosis)

Tuberculous meningitis is life-threatening if untreated. Long-term follow-up is needed to detect repeated infections (recurrences).


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/15/2010

Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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