Systemic manifestations in the course of meningococcal disease

Dulović, Olga; Stevanović, Goran; Milošević, Branko; Gvozdenović, Eleonora; Dokić, Ljubiša; Popović, Nataša; Nikolić, Svetlana; Pavlović, Milorad
August 2009
Vojnosanitetski Pregled: Military Medical & Pharmaceutical Journ;Aug2009, Vol. 66 Issue 8, p629
Academic Journal
Background/Aim. Meningococcal disease most often manifests itself as meningitis or sepsis. During the course of these diseases, other clinical events sometimes develop such as pneumonia, pericarditis, arthritis, and they are referred to as extrameningeal or systemic manifestations of the meningococcal disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the type and the incidence of particular extrameningeal/systemic manifestations among patients with meningococcal meningitis and sepsis, including time of their onset and the influence on the disease outcome. Methods. The retrospective study of the medical records of 246 patients treated for meningococcal disease over the 25-year period in the Institute for Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Belgrade was conducted. The patients, aged 3 months to 82 years both sexes, were divided into two groups. Results. Out of 246 patients extrameningeal/systemic manifestations were found in 42 (17.1%) patients: 35 (14.2%) occurred during meningitis, and seven (2.8%) during sepsis. Pulmonary manifestations (mostly pneumonia) were the most prevalent, found in 12 (4.9%) patients, followed by heart involvement in nine (3.6%) patients (mostly pericarditis, in seven or 2.8% patients). Various ophthalmic manifestations occurred in seven (2.8%), arthritis in 4 (1.6%) and sinusitis in six (2.4%) patients. Otitis, multiple renal embolisms with hematuria, osteomyelitis and thrombophlebitis were evidenced in one patient, each. Most of the systemic manifestations (30 patients or 71.4%), developed within the initial three days of the disease (p < 0.01), suggesting direct pathogenic mechanism induced by meningococci per se, while only three (7.1%) developed after seven days, when immune-mediated disease was more likely. Even though these manifestations complicate and prolong treatment of the meningococcal disease, they had no major influence on the disease outcome. Lethal outcome occurred in 2 (4.76%) patients, both with the meningococcal type of the disease. Conclusion. Extrameningeal or systemic manifestations are uncommon complications during the course of both meningococcal meningitis and sepsis. The onset of pneumonia, pericarditis, eye involvement, and arthritis, within the initial seven days of the disease, were most prevalent in the course of meningitis. They had no major influence on the disease outcome.


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