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A patient with fever and neck stiffness was treated as partially treated bacterial meningitis based on history, examination and cerebrospinal fluid analysis. After initial improvement with ceftriaxone, vancomycin and dexamethasone, symptoms recurred. Fever resolved promptly after treatment was started with doxycycline, when scrub typhus immunoglobulin M test came positive. Meningitis is a well-known complication of scrub typhus. However, scrub typhus is seldom considered in the differential diagnosis of meningitis in the Indian subcontinent. Early diagnosis and prompt institution of doxycycline therapy may lead to early cure of scrub typhus even when features of meningitis supervene. However, ceftriaxone which is commonly used to treat bacterial meningitis is suboptimal in the treatmenwgt36t of scrub typhus.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ case reports

Publication Date





Department of Internal Medicine, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal.