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ABSTRACT: Bacterial meningitis is a life threatening disease. Most patients will experience only one episode throughout life. Children who experience bacterial meningitis more than once, require further immunologic or anatomic evaluation. We report a 9 year old child with five episodes of bacterial meningitis due to a congenital defect of the skull base. A two and a half year old boy first presented to our medical center with pneumococcal meningitis. He was treated with antibiotics and fully recovered. Two months later he presented again with a similar clinical picture. Streptococcus pneumoniae grew in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture. CT scan and later MRI of the brain revealed a defect in the anterior middle fossa floor, with protrusion of brain tissue into the sphenoidal sinus. Corrective surgery was recommended but the parents refused. Three months later, a third episode of pneumococcal meningitis occurred. The child again recovered with antibiotics and this time corrective surgery was performed. Five years later, the boy presented once again with clinical signs and symptoms consistent with bacterial meningitis. CSF culture was positive, but the final identification of the bacteria was conducted by broad spectrum 16S ribosomal RNA PCR (16S rRNA PCR) which revealed a sequence of Neisseria lactamica. CT and MRI showed recurrence of the skull base defect with encephalocele in the sphenoid sinus. The parents again refused neurosurgical intervention. A year later the patient presented with bacterial meningitis. CSF culture obtained after initiation of antibiotics was negative, but actinobacillus was identified in the CSF by 16S rRNA PCR. The patient is scheduled for neurosurgical intervention. In patients with recurrent bacterial meningitis caused by organisms colonizing the oropharynx or nasopharynx, an anatomical defect should be carefully sought and surgically repaired.
Harefuah 08/2012; 151(8):472-5, 497.