In this section
Meningitis and encephalitis
This guideline aims 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 its scope.
CSF : blood
(or ≥2.0 mmol/L)
(or ≥2.5 mmol/L)
* Some studies have found that up to 5% of white cells in neonates without meningitis comprise neutrophils
Meningitis can occur in children with normal CSF microscopy.
is a high clinical suspicion of meningitis, 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 and fall fairly rapidly in the first 2 weeks of life.
(CSF : blood ratio)
(but may be normal)
Last Updated August 2019