Klebsiella infection has been considered to be an uncommon cause of meningitis. To determine its incidence and clinical features, we reviewed the microbiologic records of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood cultures and the medical records of patients with bacterial meningitis admitted between 1981 and 1995. Klebsiella meningitis was diagnosed in 79 patients with 83 episodes. All patients had klebsiella isolated from CSF and/or blood and typical symptoms and signs of acute bacterial meningitis. Of these, 74 were over 16 years of age and 2 of the 5 children were infants. There was an increased prevalence rate of klebsiella meningitis after 1986. Of the 83 episodes, only 9 occurred between 1981 and 1986, accounting for 7·8% of 115 cases with CSF and/or blood culture-proven acute bacterial meningitis, whereas in 1987–95, there were 74 episodes accounting for 17·7% of 419 bacteriologically proven cases. K. pneumoniae accounted for 69 episodes, K. oxytoca, 11 episodes and K. ozaenae, 3 episodes. Male gender, diabetes mellitus and liver cirrhosis were commonly associated with K. pneumoniae meningitis. Neurosurgical procedures were frequently associated with K. oxytoca meningitis. All three patients with K. ozaenae meningitis had a primary disease of the nasopharyngeal pathway. The mortality rate due to K. pneumoniae was 48·5%, K. oxytoca, 10% and K. ozaenae, 0%. In patients with K. pneumoniae meningitis, poor prognostic factors included age over 60 years, diabetes mellitus, bacteremia and severe neurological deficits on the first day of treatment.
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