II. Management: General

  1. ABC Management
  2. Initiate droplet precautions (for first 24 hours of management)
  3. Obtain Blood Cultures
  4. Obtain Lumbar Puncture (and Head CT if indicated)
  5. Initiate empiric antibiotics as below
    1. Do not delay antibiotics and Dexamethasone if LP cannot be immediately obtained
    2. Door to antibiotic delay >6 hours is associated with significantly increased mortality (OR 8.4)
      1. Proulx (2005) QJM 98(4): 291-8 [PubMed]
  6. Consider atypical organisms (e.g. travel history, skin lesions, underlying HIV Infection, immunocompromised status)
    1. Consider Acyclovir if HSV Meningitis (or Encephalitis) is suspected
    2. Consider Tuberculous Meningitis, Cryptococcal Meningitis, fungal Meningitis
  7. Indications for repeat Lumbar Puncture
    1. No clinical improvement in 48 hours
  8. Consider testing after Bacterial Meningitis episode
    1. Audiology for Hearing Testing (esp. children)
    2. Screening for neurologic sequelae including Developmental Delay
    3. Complement deficiency (if recurrent Meningitis or other serious infection)

III. Management: Antibiotic and adjunctive medication Doses

  1. See Dexamethasone below
  2. Ampicillin
    1. Age under 1 month: 50 mg/kg IV q8-12 hours
    2. Age over 1 month: 50 mg/kg IV q6 hours
    3. Adult: 2g IV q4 hours
  3. Cefotaxime
    1. <1 month old: 50 mg/kg IV q8-12 hours
    2. >1 month old: 200 mg/kg/d IV divide q6-8 hours
    3. Adult: 2g IV q6 hours
  4. Ceftriaxone
    1. <1 month old: 50-75 mg/kg IV divide q12-24 hours
    2. >1 month old: 100 mg/kg/d IV divide q12 hours
    3. Adult: 2g IV q12 hours
  5. Gentamycin
    1. Peds: 2-2.5 mg/kg q8 hours
    2. Adult: 1 mg/kg IV/IM q8h OR 5 mg/kg IV q24 hours
    3. Therapeutic Window
      1. Peak: 5-10 ug/ml
      2. Trough: <2 ug/ml
  6. Vancomycin
    1. Peds: 15 mg/kg q6 hours IV
    2. Adult: 1g IV q6-12 hours
  7. Meropenem
    1. Peds: 40 mg/kg IV q8 hours
    2. Adult: 1g IV q8 hours

IV. Management: Empiric Antibiotic Therapy

  1. Precautions
    1. Consider Acyclovir if HSV Meningitis (or Encephalitis) is suspected
  2. Low Birth Weight or Preterm Infant
    1. Vancomycin AND
    2. Ceftazidime OR Amikacin
  3. Age < 1 month old
    1. Ampicillin (OR if high MRSA risk, Vancomycin) AND
    2. Cefotaxime OR Gentamicin
  4. Age 1 month to 50 years old
    1. Vancomycin AND
    2. Cefotaxime OR Ceftriaxone (or Meropenem) AND
    3. In severe Penicillin/Cephalosporin allergy
      1. Chloramphenicol with TMP-SMZ may be used instead of Ampicillin and Cephalosporin
    4. Consider Dexamethasone (for pneumococcal Meningitis)
    5. Consider adding Rifampin
    6. Consider adding Ampicillin if Listeria monocytogenes risk
  5. Age >50 years (or immunocompromised or Alcoholism)
    1. Vancomycin AND
    2. Ampicillin AND
    3. Ceftriaxone OR Cefotaxime (or Meropenem) AND
    4. In severe Penicillin/Cephalosporin allergy
      1. Meropenem (or Aztreonam) with TMP-SMZ may be used instead of Ampicillin and Cephalosporin
    5. Consider Dexamethasone (for pneumococcal Meningitis)
    6. Consider adding Rifampin
  6. Comorbid CNS conditions
    1. Head Trauma with Basilar Skull Fracture (or Cochlear impant)
      1. Vancomycin AND
      2. Ceftriaxone or Cefotaxime (or Meropenem) AND
      3. Dexamethasone
      4. In severe Penicillin/Cephalosporin allergy
        1. Meropenem (or Aztreonam) OR chloramphenicol may be used instead of Ampicillin and Cephalosporin
    2. Head Trauma with Penetrating Trauma
      1. Vancomycin AND
      2. Cefepime or Ceftazidime (or Meropenem)
    3. Post-Neurosurgery or CSF Shunt
      1. Vancomycin AND
      2. Cefepime or Ceftazidime (or Meropenem)
      3. Add Dexamethasone for recurrent Meningitis
      4. In severe Penicillin/Cephalosporin allergy
        1. Aztreonam OR Ciprofloxacin may be used instead of Cephalosporin
    4. CSF Shunt
      1. Remove infected shunt and replace with external ventricular catheter
      2. Vancomycin AND
        1. Used alone in children if Gram Positive infection
        2. Check Gram Stain to confirm no Gram Negative Rods
      3. Cefepime or Ceftazidime or Meropenem
        1. Typically started with Vancomycin initially
        2. Added in adults and in Gram Negative infection
      4. Intraventricular shunt antibiotics may be used if shunt not able to be removed
        1. Options: Amikacin, Gentamicin, Polymixin E, Tobramycin, Vancomycin, Daptomycin, Quinupristin-Dalf.

V. Management: Antibiotics based on CSF Gram Stain Results

  1. Gram Positive Diplococci (Pneumococcus)
    1. All cases receive Dexamethasone for 4 days
    2. Antibiotics for 10-14 days
      1. Vancomycin AND
      2. Cefotaxime OR Ceftriaxone (or Meropenem or Moxifloxacin) AND
  2. Gram Negative Cocci (Meningococcus)
    1. Cefotaxime or Ceftriaxone or Pencillin G or Ampicillin or Moxifloxacin or Chloramphenicol
  3. Gram Positive Bacilli (Listeria monocytogenes)
    1. Ampicillin AND Gentamycin OR (TMP-SMZ or Meropenem)
  4. Gram Negative Bacilli (H. flu, E. coli, Pseudomonas)
    1. Ceftazidime OR Cefepime (or Meropenem) AND
    2. Gentamycin

VI. Management: Known Etiology

  1. Infant
    1. Group B Streptococcus (Treat for 14-21 days)
      1. Ampicillin AND
      2. Consider Gentamycin
    2. Coliforms (Treat for 21 days)
      1. Cefotaxime AND
      2. Gentamycin
    3. Pseudomonas
      1. Ceftazidime AND
      2. Gentamycin
    4. Listeria (Treat for 7 days)
      1. Ampicillin AND
      2. Consider Gentamycin
  2. Children and Adults
    1. Pneumococcal Meningitis (Treat for 10-14 days)
      1. All cases receive Dexamethasone for 4 days
      2. Course: 10-14 days of antibiotics
      3. Coverage until culture sensitivities available
        1. Ceftriaxone or Cefotaxime (or Meropenem) AND
        2. Vancomycin AND
        3. Dexamethasone
      4. Penicillin MIC <0.1 mcg per ml
        1. Penicillin or Ampicillin (or Cefotaxime or Chloramphenicol)
      5. Penicllin MIC 0.1 to 1 mcg/ml
        1. Ceftriaxone or Cefotaxime (or Cefopime or Meropenem)
      6. Penicillin MIC >2 mcg/ml (or Ceftriaxone MIC >1 mcg/ml)
        1. Vancomycin AND
        2. Ceftriaxone or Cefotaxime (or Moxifloxacin)
        3. Add Rifampin if Ceftriaxone MIC >2 mcg/ml or clinical response after 24-36 hours
    2. HaemophilusInfluenzae (Treat for 7 days)
      1. Dexamethasone started prior to first antibiotic dose
      2. Preferred regimen
        1. Ceftriaxone (or Meropenem)
        2. May substitute Ampicillin if beta-lactamase negative AND Ampicillin sensitive
      3. Severe Penicillin/Cephalosporin allergy
        1. Aztreonam (adults)
        2. Chloramphenicol (children, but higher resistance rates)
    3. Neisseria Meningitidis (Treat for 7 days)
      1. Ceftriaxone OR Cefotaxime (or Aztreonam or Meropenem or Moxifloxacin)
      2. Chloramphenicol may be used if no other alternative, but higher resistance rates
    4. Listeria monocytogenes
      1. Ampicillin (or Meropenem) AND
      2. Aminoglycoside (Gentamicin or tobramycin)

VII. Management: Reducing Intracranial Pressure

  1. Indications
    1. Meningitis with Pressure >260mm H2O
  2. Methods
    1. Elevate head of bed to 30 degrees
    2. Hyperosmolar agents (mannitol, glycerol)
    3. High Dose Barbiturates
    4. Avoid Hyperventilation
      1. May reduce ICP at expense of cerebral blood flow

VIII. Management: Dexamethasone

  1. Use is controversial in Bacterial Meningitis
    1. Some providers consider using only if Lumbar Puncture fluid cloudy (expert opinion only)
    2. Primarily effective for H. Influenzae (neonates), S. Pneumoniae (adults) and Tuberculosis (non-HIV related)
      1. Decreases mortality (NNT 18)
      2. Decreases Hearing Loss risk (NNT 21)
      3. Brouwer (2015) Cochrane Database Syst Rev (9):CD004405 [PubMed]
  2. Technique
    1. First dose 15 minutes before antibiotic
  3. Benefits
    1. Reduces subarachnoid space inflammation
    2. Decreases edema, Vasculitis, Neuronitis
  4. Risks
    1. Risk of apoptosis
    2. May lower Vancomycin efficacy in CNS
    3. Consider using Rifampin with Dexamethasone
      1. Specifically indicated for Pneumococcal Meningitis
  5. Children
    1. Dosing
      1. Dexamethasone 0.4 mg/kg q12h IV for 2 days OR
      2. Dexamethasone 0.15 mg/kg q6h IV for 4 days
    2. Efficacy
      1. Protective against bilateral Hearing Loss
      2. Must be given prior to first dose of antibiotic
  6. Adults
    1. Dosing
      1. Dexamethasone 10 mg IV q6 hours for 4 days
      2. Start 15 minutes before first antibiotic dose
    2. Efficacy
      1. Significantly better outcomes with Dexamethasone
      2. Decreased neurologic sequelae
      3. Improved survival
    3. References
      1. De Gans (2002) N Engl J Med 347:1549-56 [PubMed]

IX. Prevention: Post-exposure Prophylaxis

  1. See Bacterial Meningitis for primary prevention Vaccinations
  2. Group B Streptococcus
    1. See GBS Prophylaxis intrapartum if maternal GBS positive
  3. Meningococcal Meningitis
    1. See Meningococcal Meningitis for specific antibiotic prophylaxis
    2. Indications
      1. Close contacts for >8 hours OR
      2. Unprotected droplet or nasopharyngeal secretion exposure
    3. Adult
      1. Preferred: Ciprofloxacin 500 mg or Ceftriaxone 250 mg IM (125 mg if age <15) for 1 dose
      2. Other options (risk of higher resistance)
        1. Rifampin 600 mg every 12 hours for 2 days OR
        2. Spiramycin for 5 days
    4. Child
      1. Preferred: Ceftriaxone
      2. Other options (risk of higher resistance)
        1. Rifampin 10 mg/kg (5 mg/kg if age <1 month) for 2 days OR
        2. Spiramycin for 5 days
  4. Haemophilus Influenzae
    1. Indications
      1. Household contact
        1. Contact for at least 4 hours
        2. Unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children under age 4 years
      2. Child care
        1. Contact for at least 4 hours AND
        2. Attended same day care for 5-7 days before symptom onset AND
        3. One case and unvaccinated children <2 years old at center OR
          1. Two or more cases in last 60 days and unvaccinated children
    2. Dosing
      1. Child: Rifampin 20 mg/kg/day up to 600 mg/day for up to 4 days
      2. Adult: Rifampin 600 mg daily for 4 days

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Ontology: Meningitis, Bacterial (C0085437)

Definition (MSH) Bacterial infections of the leptomeninges and subarachnoid space, frequently involving the cerebral cortex, cranial nerves, cerebral blood vessels, spinal cord, and nerve roots.
Definition (CSP) bacterial infections of the leptomeninges and subarachnoid space, frequently involving the cerebral cortex, cranial nerves, cerebral blood vessels, spinal cord and nerve roots; causative organism varies with age and clinical status (eg, postoperative, immunodeficient, posttraumatic states); clinical manifestations include the acute onset of fever, stiff neck, altered mentation, seizures, and focal neurologic deficits; death may occur within 24 hours of disease onset; pathologic features include a purulent exudate in the subarachnoid space, and diffuse inflammation of neural and vascular structures.
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D016920
ICD9 320.9, 320
ICD10 G00.9 , G00
SnomedCT 192662001, 267680008, 154984006, 95883001
English Bacterial Meningitides, Bacterial Meningitis, Meningitides, Bacterial, Meningitis, Bacterial, Meningitis due to unspecified bacterium, Bacterial meningitis, unspecified, MENINGITIS BACTERIAL, MENINGITIS BACT, BACT MENINGITIDES, BACT MENINGITIS, MENINGITIDES BACT, bacterial meningitis, bacterial meningitis (diagnosis), Meningitis bacterial NOS, Bacterial meningitis NOS, Meningitis, Bacterial [Disease/Finding], Meningitis;bacterial, bacterial meningitides, Bacterial meningitis NOS (disorder), Meningitis bacterial, Bacterial meningitis, BM - Bacterial meningitis, Bacterial meningitis (disorder), bacterial; meningitis, meningitis; bacterial, Bacterial meningitis, NOS, Meningitis, bacterial NOS
Portuguese MENINGITE BACTERIANA, Meningite bacteriana NE, Meningite por bactéria NE, Meningites Bacterianas, Meningite Bacteriana, Meningite por Bactéria, Meningites por Bactérias, Meningite por Bactérias, Meningite bacteriana
Dutch meningitis bacterieel NAO, meningitis door niet-gespecificeerde bacterie, bacteriële meningitis, bacterieel; meningitis, meningitis; bacterieel, Bacteriële meningitis, niet gespecificeerd, hersenvliesontsteking bacterieel, Bacteriële meningitis, Meningitis, bacteriële
French Méningite bactérienne SAI, Méningite due à une bactérie non précisée, MENINGITE BACTERIENNE, Méningite bactérienne
German Meningitis bakteriell NNB, Meningitis infolge einer unspezifischen Bakterie, Bakterielle Meningitis, nicht naeher bezeichnet, MENINGITIS BAKTERIELL, bakterielle Meningitis, Meningitis, bakterielle, Bakterielle Meningitis
Italian Meningite batterica NAS, Meningite da batteri non specificati, Meningite batterica
Spanish Meningitis por bacterias, Meningitis bacteriana NEOM, Meningitis por bacterias no especificadas, Meningitis Bacterianas, Meningitis Bacteriana, meningitis bacteriana, SAI, meningitis bacteriana, SAI (trastorno), Meningitis por Bacterias, meningitis bacteriana (trastorno), meningitis bacteriana, Meningitis bacteriana
Japanese 詳細不明の細菌による髄膜炎, 細菌性髄膜炎NOS, ショウサイフメイノサイキンニヨルズイマクエン, サイキンセイズイマクエン, サイキンセイズイマクエンNOS, 細菌性髄膜炎, 髄膜炎-細菌性
Swedish Hjärnhinneinflammation, bakteriell
Czech meningitida bakteriální, Bakteriální meningitida, Bakteriální meningitida NOS, Meningitida způsobená blíže určenými bakteriemi
Finnish Bakteerimeningiitti
Korean 상세불명의 세균성 수막염
Polish Zapalenie opon bakteryjne, Zapalenie opon mózgowych bakteryjne
Hungarian Nem meghatározott bacterium okozta meningitis, Bacterialis meningitis, bacterialis meningitis k.m.n., bacterialis meningitis
Norwegian Bakteriell meningitt, Meningitt, bakteriell