Can you make the diagnosis?

Robert is supposed to go out with his friend for dinner, but he feels a bit under the weather, so he calls and says he has to cancel.  He feels like he is getting the flu.  He had a headache and feels feverish.

Robert decides just to take some Advil and get into bed.  His friend who he cancelled dinner with decides to swing by just to check on him.  It is hard for Robert to get out of bed, but he lets him in.  He tells his friend how badly he feels, and shows him a rash he is getting.


What should Robert’s friend tell him to do?

  1.  Take more Advil and go to bed
  2.  Make an appointment with his doctor
  3.  Take a Benadryl
  4.  Go to the Emergency Department



If you guessed 4.  Go to the Emergency Department, you are right!

Robert has meningococcal infection.  Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis.  This infection can lead to severe illness and death if untreated.

Symptoms include fever, headache, neck stiffness and a purple rash.

There are 2,600 cases of meningococccal infection a year in the United States.  It has been reduced with vaccination against the infection.

If caught early, meningococcal disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

Advil may help the fever and pain, but Robert has a severe bacterial infection.  It cannot wait for treatment, and he should not wait to see his doctor for a regular appointment.  Benadryl can help allergic rashes, but this rash is from bacteria.

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