ORIGINAL PAPER

European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 158, Issue 11, pp 875-878

First online:

Pasteurella multocida meningitis in infancy – (a lick may be as bad as a bite)

  • T. WadeAffiliated withDepartment of Paediatrics, Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's Hospital, London W2 1NY, UK, e-mail: r.booy@ich.ucl.ac.uk, Tel.: +44 171-8866377, Fax: +44 171 8866284
  • , R. BooyAffiliated withDepartment of Paediatrics, Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's Hospital, London W2 1NY, UK, e-mail: r.booy@ich.ucl.ac.uk, Tel.: +44 171-8866377, Fax: +44 171 8866284
  • , E. L. TeareAffiliated withPublic Health Laboratory Chelmsford, Chelmsford CM2 0YX, UK
  • , S. KrollAffiliated withDepartment of Paediatrics, Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's Hospital, London W2 1NY, UK, e-mail: r.booy@ich.ucl.ac.uk, Tel.: +44 171-8866377, Fax: +44 171 8866284

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Pasteurella multocida is the commonest cause of local infection after an animal bite, but is an unusual cause of meningitis. We report a case of P. multocida meningitis occurring in a 7-week-old infant which was contracted after non-traumatic contact with a household pet, that is, without any animal bite or scratch. The organism may be easily confused with more common Gram-negative pathogens. In this case, it was initially incorrectly diagnosed as Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib); a possibility which has important implications in the era of routine use of Hib vaccine in infant immunisation programs.

Conclusion Pasteurella multocida is an unusual, but serious cause of meningitis in infancy. It is potentially preventable by the avoidance of contact between young infants and the saliva of household pets, in particular by assiduous hand hygiene.

Key wordsPasteurella multocida Meningitis Zoonosis Misdiagnosis