‘Arc’ meningitis early alert pack, United Kingdom, 2009
The arc is a simple, innovative device. It was developed by JR Biomedical Limited to assist diagnosing meningitis or septicaemia. Meningitis is a potentially fatal inflammation of the tissues known as the meninges, which surround the brain. Septicaemia is the medical term for blood poisoning. Both conditions produce symptoms similar to severe flu. These include fever, joint pain, sensitivity to light, diarrhoea and vomiting. They also cause a rash due to blood leaking under the skin. In the early stages, the rash looks like pinpricks. It quickly spreads to look like a bruise. The ‘Arc’ is made of curved plastic – although the same test can be performed using a glass tumbler. It is rolled over the rash and if it fails to ‘disappear’ as a normal rash does, this strongly indicates meningitis or septicaemia. Medical advice should be sought immediately.
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Glossary: diagnostic tool
Any range of medical instruments used to diagnose illness.
A severe medical condition that can come in both viral and bacterial form. Meningitis causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, stiffness of the neck and an aversion to light.
Blood poisoning caused by the spread of bacteria from an infection.
Glossary: meningitis alert test