1st case of resistant bacterial meningitis confirmed in US

Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., treated what is believed to be the first case of resistant bacterial meningitis in the U.S., according to a study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

The case occurred in January and involved a 5-month-old boy from Maryland. Clinicians gave the infant broad-spectrum antibiotics and discharged him after a week in the hospital, according to a report from the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy in Minneapolis.

Clinicians tested bacterial samples from the boy, which showed resistance to five antibiotics, including penicillin and ciprofloxacin. These two antibiotics are commonly used to treat bacterial meningitis and prevent infection in patients' close contacts.

Researchers said this is likely the first known infection caused by beta-lactamase-producing Neisseria meningitidis in the U.S. 

"My laboratory at Children's National Hospital has a keen focus on detecting life-threatening antimicrobial resistance in pathogens infecting our patients," Joseph Campos, PhD, a study author and director of the hospital's microbiology lab, told Becker's via email. "Penicillin resistance in Neisseria meningitidis is virtually unheard of in the United States yet we have always tested for it because of the serious consequences it can have. In this instance, we were shocked by our test result, but we made sure the patient's physician was made aware of it immediately."

Based on the study's findings, routine susceptibility testing of meningococcal samples could help inform treatment and prevention, researchers concluded.

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