In this section
See also: Meningitis Lumbar
This guideline is to help with the interpretation of CSF results
for the purpose of diagnosing or excluding meningitis. The use of
CSF for other purposes (including the diagnosis of specific
neurological conditions, subarachnoid haemorrhage or malignancy) is
outside the scope of this guideline.
(>1 month of
≥ 0.6 (or ≥ 2.5
(<1 month of
The presence of any neutrophils in the CSF is
unusual in normal children and should raise concern about bacterial
Meningitis can occur in children with normal
If it is clinically indicated,
children who have a 'normal' CSF should still be treated with IV
antibiotics pending cultures.
CSF white cell count and protein level are
higher at birth than in later infancy and fall fairly rapidly in
the first 2 weeks of life. In the first week, 90% of normal
neonates have a white cell count less than 18, and a protein level
< 1.0 g/L.
≥ 0.6 (or
≥ 2.5 mmol/L)
(but may be
* Some studies have found up to 5% of white cells in neonates
without meningitis comprise neutrophils
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