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Lancet Infect Dis. 2005 May;5(5):287-95.

Management of anthrax meningitis.

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Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch, Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


Meningitis due to infection with Bacillus anthracis is considered an infrequent manifestation of the disease but one associated with high mortality. The bioterrorism event in the USA in the autumn of 2001 demonstrated our need for a better understanding of anthrax meningitis, as well as management and antimicrobial therapy. However, human clinical trials are not possible and animal experiments to guide such therapy are limited. An approach to the treatment of anthrax meningitis, based on the pathogenicity of B anthracis, the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of individual antimicrobial agents, studies of anthrax post-exposure prophylaxis in non-human primates, experience with antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of the 2001 outbreak strain, and the clinical experience with inhalational anthrax cases during the 2001 outbreak is presented. These outbreak data, the failure of previous single-drug regimens, the concerns of resistance, and the need for coverage for other causes of bacterial mengingitis suggest initial treatment of suspected anthrax meningitis should anchor on an intravenous fluoroquinolone and should include one or two other agents with activity against B anthracis and good penetration into the central nervous system. Such other agents include penicillin, ampicillin, meropenem, vancomycin, and rifampicin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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