Medical Q&As

Meningitis

What is distinctive about the rash that appears with meningitis or with different strains of meningitis, and does it always appear on the chest, or can it appear in other sites such as, around the eyes, and chin, and nappy area?

There is a great deal of confusion about rashes and meningitis. The rash that gives rise to concern is the one that is associated with meningococcal septicaemia. This can occur with or without meningitis. This is a potentially fatal infection and can kill within a matter of hours. Apart from the rash the child usually looks extremely ill. If your child has a rash and a raised temperature but is lively, alert, eating and drinking then the child is most likely suffering from a self-limiting viral infection. The particular rash associated with meningococcal septicaemia can be identified with the tumbler test. If the rash does not disappear when a glass tumbler is applied to the skin this raises the possibility of septicaemia.