Ureoplasma: Pathogen or Passenger in Neonatal Meningitis?

Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of General Medicine, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (Impact Factor: 3.14). 11/2009; 29(1):60-4. DOI: 10.1097/INF.0b013e3181b21016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The significance of Ureaplasma species as pathogens in neonatal meningitis remains contentious. Using an illustrative case of a premature infant with Ureaplasma parvum meningitis, confirmed by cerebrospinal fluid cultures and both specific and 16s rDNA polymerase chain reaction, we discuss the epidemiology of Ureaplasma species, the difficulties involved in diagnosis and establishing pathogenicity, and the challenges in defining appropriate treatment.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Ureaplasma spp. have been implicated in the pathogenesis of both preterm labor and neonatal morbidity including pneumonia and sepsis and the development of chronic lung disease of prematurity. Data on Ureaplasma meningitis are limited and partly controversially discussed. Patient: We report the unique case of a 9-month-old infant with progressive internal hydrocephalus of unknown origin and developmental delay due to a history of>200 days of inflammation of the central nervous system. The female extremely low birth weight infant had been referred to our hospital for ventriculoperitoneal shunt implantation. She had been born at 26+3 weeks of gestation with a birth weight of 940 g. With the exception of a moderate respiratory distress syndrome, postnatal period had been reported uneventful. However, internal hydrocephalus had become manifest at 4 weeks of postnatal age. Intraventricular hemorrhage had not been documented by cranial ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis had repetitively revealed pronounced inflammation reflected by pleocytosis (50-86 leukocytes/μL, 60% lymphocytes), CSF protein levels of 578-1 026 mg/dL and undetectable CSF glucose. Although suggesting bacterial meningitis, microbial diagnostics had not been indicative, and empirical antibiotics had not affected the CSF findings. On admission to our hospital, CSF analysis still documented significant inflammation (125 leukocytes/μL, CSF protein 565 mg/dL, CSF glucose<2 mg/dL). Results: Due to a prenatal history of cerclage, we initiated microbial diagnostics on Ureaplasma spp. and Mycoplasma hominis. U. parvum was detected in CSF by culture and PCR, no other pathogens were isolated. On intravenous treatment with chloramphenicol, CSF profile continuously normalized, and cultures and PCR became negative. Treatment was continued for 3 weeks, and the infant was discharged after uncomplicated ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. During a 12-month observation period she has shown encouraging recovery. Conclusion: In preterm infants, in particular, internal hydrocephalus of unknown origin and sustained CSF inflammation are highly suggestive of Ureaplasma meningitis. Our case highlights that infection may escape detection if not explicitly considered, since microbial diagnosis requires complex media and PCR. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.
    Zeitschrift für Geburtshilfe und Neonatologie 12/2014; 219(01). DOI:10.1055/s-0034-1395537 · 0.46 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The role of Ureaplasma spp. in human disease has been controversial, as these bacteria are commonly isolated as part of the normal genital tract flora. Ureaplasma has been shown to have a causal role in urogenital infections and is associated with significant foetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality when infection occurs during the perinatal period. Although rare, invasive Ureaplasma infection (meningitis, renal abscess, mediastinitis and arthritis) has also been reported in both adults and children. This review outlines the unique microbiological features and various clinical presentations of Ureaplasma infection. It also discusses the treatment options, which in the neonatal period can be particularly challenging.
    The Journal of infection 10/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.jinf.2013.09.027 · 4.02 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Colonization with Ureaplasma species has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcome, and perinatal transmission has been implicated in the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in preterm neonates. Little is known about Ureaplasma-mediated infection and inflammation of the CNS in neonates. Controversy remains concerning its incidence and implication in the pathogenesis of neonatal brain injury. In vivo and in vitro data are limited. Despite improving care options for extremely immature preterm infants, relevant complications remain. Systematic knowledge of ureaplasmal infection may be of great benefit. This review aims to summarize pathogenic mechanisms, clinical data and diagnostic pitfalls. Studies in preterm and term neonates are critically discussed with regard to their limitations. Clinical questions concerning therapy or prophylaxis are posed. We conclude that ureaplasmas may be true pathogens, especially in preterm neonates, and may cause CNS inflammation in a complex interplay of host susceptibility, serovar pathogenicity and gestational age-dependent CNS vulnerability.
    Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy 01/2015; 13(2). DOI:10.1586/14787210.2015.999670 · 2.28 Impact Factor