A 7-year-old previously healthy girl presents to the ED with fever, neck pain, and increased sleepiness since the previous day. The patient’s mother reports that she has had a nonproductive cough for the past 2 days, with associated nasal congestion and runny nose. She also notes that the girl has had a decreased appetite since the previous day, a temperature of 38.5ºC, neck pain, and has been lethargic. The patient’s mother does not report a rash, and the remainder of the review of systems is negative. On examination, the patient is found to be sleepy and slowly arousable to commands. The girl's pupils are equal, 4 mm, and react briskly to light. She winces with extension of her knees and has reflex flexion of her hips and knees upon passive neck flexion. As you discuss the likely diagnosis with the girl's mother, you start to think about the management of this patient: What laboratory studies should be sent? Which medications should be administered? Are imaging studies indicated at this time?
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