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J Perinatol. 2006 Feb;26(2):111-4.

A comparison of neonatal Gram-negative rod and Gram-positive cocci meningitis.

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Department of Pediatrics, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.



Neonatal meningitis is an illness with potentially devastating consequences. Early identification of potential risk factors for Gram-negative rod (GNR) infections versus Gram-positive cocci (GPC) infection prior to obtaining final culture results is of value in order to appropriately guide expirical therapy. We sought to compare laboratory and clinical parameters of GNR and GPC meningitis in a cohort of term and premature infants.


We evaluated lumbar punctures from neonates cared for at 150 neonatal intensive care units managed by the Pediatrix Medical Group Inc. We compared cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) parameters (white blood cell count, red blood cell count, glucose, and protein), demographics, and outcomes between infants with GNR and GPC meningitis. CSF cultures positive with coagulase-negative staphylococci were excluded.


We identified 77 infants with GNR and 86 with GPC meningitis. There were no differences in gestational age, birth weight, infant sex, race, or rate of Caesarean section. GNR meningitis was more often diagnosed after the third postnatal day and was associated with higher white blood cell and red blood cell counts. GNR meningitis diagnosed in the first 3 days of life was associated with antepartum antibiotic exposure. No difference was noted in either CSF protein or glucose levels. After correcting for gestational age, there was no observed difference in mortality between infants infected with GNR or GPC.


Compared to GPC meningitis, GNR meningitis was associated with several aspects of the clinical history and laboratory findings including older age of presentation, antepartum exposure to antibiotics, and elevated CSF white blood cell and red blood cell counts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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