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Health Forum    Infectious Diseases
Health Discussion Forum

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Can meningitis be picked up in a full blood count test?
I became very poorly last week with shakes, high fever and feeling sick. I got myself to the doctors after a few days but had no other symptoms. He decided to do a full blood count test. That was fiday. I am now very lathargic and have developed a body wide red rash giving me a marbled effect. On top of that every joint is killing me! Moving my neck is almost impossible as is moving my wrists, back, ankles, fingers... need I go on? I feel so tired that I want to sleep all the time and I am now worrying that I have something worse than a flu. My blood tests results are due back tomorrow afternoon and I just wondered if meningitis could be picked up on my blood tests?
Additional Details
I thank you for your answers and I certainly dont want to alarm anyone. The rash is not like a purple spot, its more of a measles look about it. I have not been sick, just feel it. The pain in the joints is very bad - I cant look left or right, or put my head back. My wrists - I can squeeze both sides and almost identify where the pain is; ankles, thumbs, fingers, knees, hips - all painful - came on yesterday and still have it. I have a tube of heat cream but it makes no difference. I dont want to waste anyones time, hence the reason I have asked for advice on here. Thanks to all of you who have responded

Signs and tests for meningitis:-
* Lumbar puncture with CSF glucose measurement and CSF cell count
* Gram-stain and culture of CSF (cerebral spinal fluid)
* Chest x-ray to look for other sites of infection
* Head CT scan looking for hydrocephalus, abscess or deep swelling
Please see the web pages for more details on Meningitis.

depends. if it's viral meningitis then no. if it's bacterial then it might show an elevated white blood cell count, which would indicate an infection of some sort. normally meningitis is found via spinal tap (lumbar puncture) =

Try the glass test on your rash - push a glass on your red rash and if it doesn't disappear that's a symptom of meningitis, but if you feel really ill get yourself to A&E straight away - good luck

Don't want to be alarmist but CALL AN AMBULANCE! Don't wait for blood tests to come back, if it is meningitis time is VERY important!

Call your Doctor or emergency service NOW ,do not wait until tomorrow.
Make sure you or someone with you explains your recent medical history and do not miss out on any details. If you do not have anyone with you ring a friend or relative AFTER you have called for medical help.
Addition.9.23 UK 3 Sept
The symptoms you report in my opinion do require an urgent Qualified Medical Opinion. Even if this is not meningitis they are sufficiently serious to get them checked out by a Physician /Doctor as soon as possible .

To give you a specific answer to your question, Full Blood Count cannot pick up the presence meningitis. FBC can only show the raised White Cell Count which can suggest the presence of any systemic infection, but it cannot pin-point the type of infection. Your symptoms do make it look like you've got the viral type of meningitis, which is not fatal. It's the bacterial type that is fatal. However, you still need to see your doctor as soon as possible.

I think that they would detect meningitis.
If you feel that awful then you need to go to an emergency room! Don't wait for your blood work.
Meningitis is very serious!
Go to the ER now!
Good luck & hope you start feeling better soon!!

If you think you have meningitis, Get to the doctors NOW. You may have mono, but why risk it. BActerial meningitis can and will kill you.

How long have you had the trash? How long have your joints hurt? Did you call the doctorand ask for another test/ Do you realize how serious this could be?????/

Dr Frank
A full blood count will show the presence of infection and it might be possible to use it to distinguish between bacterial and viral, using it, but not always. it will not allow diagnosis of any specific infection.

Many viral illnesses can produce a rash plus arthralgia or polyarthropathy ( your joint pains). I was generally taught that if a patient with a rash, can answer questions normally, ( let alone type into Answers) they are unlikely to have meningitis. The rash is a late sign and patients who have it are usually at the stage of having impaired levels of consciousness.

Despite all of these comments it is unsafe for anyone to to make a diagnosis for you, and if you are still unwell contact NHS Direct!

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