To evaluate modern treatment and identify important factors influencing the outcome of tuberculous meningitis, clinical and laboratory findings in 52 patients aged from 9 months to 68 years have been reviewed. Patients were classified by clinical criterions at admission and at the start of treatment. Delay in commencing treatment was associated with deterioration and consequently poorer prognosis, but some severely ill patients made a good recovery. Forty-four survivors (85%) recovered, and only two patients (4%) had severe residual disability; eight (15%) of the patients died. Treatment should commence as soon as possible on clinical grounds without necessarily waiting for demonstration of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as the organism can often be demonstrated in CSF withdrawn after the start of drug therapy.