Background: Aseptic meningitis is a frequent diagnostic problem, with little data available regarding its prevalence and the commonly identified causes.
Aims: To identify the common diagnostic tests requested, and their subsequent yields in obtaining a diagnosis in adult cases of aseptic meningitis in a tertiary neurological and infectious disease centre.
Methods: Cases of aseptic meningitis were retrospectively reviewed for a 2-year period.
Results: Of the 43 cases reviewed, a diagnosis based on subsequent microbiological, histological and immunological testing was obtained in 17 (40%). Altered levels of consciousness, and higher CSF protein levels were significantly more common in those patients attaining a definite diagnosis.
Conclusion: The median duration of admission to hospital in the undiagnosed group was 12 days, which may be improved with increased accuracy and availability of diagnostic techniques such as polymerase chain reaction.