July 28, 2016
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Definition of Benign recurrent aseptic meningitis

Benign recurrent aseptic meningitis: Recurring meningitis without identifiable cause that leaves no residual damage to the nervous system. Benign recurrent aseptic meningitis is also called Mollaret meningitis.

The cause of benign recurrent aseptic meningitis is not known.

Benign recurrent aseptic meningitis is distinguished from viral meningitis by its recurrent character with symptom-free intervals between episodes. Symptoms include headache, neckache, fever, and neck stiffness and last from 1 to 7 days. There is usually rapid onset of symptoms of meningitis and resolution without residual damage to the nervous system. Symptom-free periods may last from weeks to years.

A distinctive feature of benign recurrent aseptic meningitis are peculiar cells in the spinal fluid, called Mollaret cells, which are most often visible in the first day of the attack. Other causes of meningitis are typically excluded by testing, including tests of the brain, blood, and spinal fluid.

There is no specific treatment for benign recurrent aseptic meningitis. Treatments that are used include medications for pain, colchicine, and acyclovir. The long-term outcome is excellent.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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