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J Infect. 1995 Nov;31(3):201-3.

Rapid detection of meningococci from petechiae in acute meningococcal infection.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.


In order to evaluate the diagnostic usefulness of Gram-staining films from petechial lesions in suspected meningococcal infection, data from 52 patients with confirmed infection were reviewed. Gram-negative diplococci were found in specimens from skin films in 80% (24/30) patients with petechiae. This is significantly better than results reported for Gram-staining of needle aspirates from petechiae (46%; 12/26). Positive skin films were obtained from 89% (17/19) blood culture negative cases and 85% (17/20) CSF negative cases. In 14 cases meningococcal infection was identified only by skin films. Skin film results were not significantly affected by previous antibiotic. Gram-staining of films from petechial lesions in suspected meningococcal infection is a very rapid and effective investigation. Blood culture, CSF examination and culture, and skin films each identified meningococcal infection not identified by the other two investigations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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