What Are Positive Brudzinski and Kernig Signs?

A Positive Brudzinski’s sign includes involuntary flexion of the hip and knee when the neck is bent forward. A positive Kernig’s sign is an inability to extend the leg while the hip is flexed to 90 degrees. Positive Brudzinski’s and Kernig’s signs help confirm meningitis, according to the Free Dictionary.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes, or meninges, of the brain and spinal cord that is accompanied by headache, fever and stiff neck, states Mayo Clinic. The severity and treatment of the disease depend on the source of infection, which can be a virus, bacteria or fungus. Viral and bacterial meningitis are contagious. Bacterial meningitis must be treated immediately with antibiotics to prevent serious complications.

Most cases of meningitis are caused by a viral infection. Meningitis caused by bacteria, such as Neisseria meningitidis or streptococcus pneumoniae, can be fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Meningitis caused by viruses such as enteroviruses, arboviruses and herpes simplex is serious, but people with healthy immune systems usually recover without treatment. Fungal meningitis, which is acquired by inhaling spores from the environment, is more common in people with diabetes, cancer or HIV. Vaccines are available for some types of viral and bacterial meningitis.