Meningitis is potentially life threatening inflammation of the protective coverings of the brain and spinal cord – the meninges – caused for example by bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, drugs and so forth.
The bacterium Neisseria meningitides (meningococcus), causes meningitis as well as sepsis (infection of the blood). In meningococcemia bleeding may occur into the skin causing a rash that does not grow fainter when a transparent glass tumbler is pressed against it – tumbler test aka glass test.
The tumbler test is controversial because it is difficult to perform and interpret, it is not particularly useful in dark skinned people, the non-blanching rash may not indicate meningococcemia and appearance of the rash is a relatively late feature in the natural course of the disease.Reference:
Mant D, Van den Bruel A. Should we promote the tumbler test? Arch Dis Child, 2011 (7):613-4. Go to reference
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Child affected by a life threatening non-blanching rash, tumbler