Journal Article

Three Days of Intravenous Benzyl Penicillin Treatment of Meningococcal Disease in Adults

Rod Ellis-Pegler, Lesley Galler, Sally Roberts, Mark Thomas and Andrew Woodhouse

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 37, issue 5, pages 658-662
Published in print September 2003 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online September 2003 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/377203
Three Days of Intravenous Benzyl Penicillin Treatment of Meningococcal Disease in Adults

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New Zealand has experienced an epidemic of predominantly serogroup B meningococcal disease during the past decade. In a prospective study, we treated adults (age, >15 years) with meningococcal disease with intravenous benzyl penicillin (12 MU [7.2 g] per day) for 3 days. Sixty-one adults with suspected meningococcal disease were consecutively admitted during the 33-month period; 3 patients were excluded. The 58 patients had a mean age (± standard deviation [SD]) of 27.9 ± 14.5 years (median, 21 years; range, 15–70 years). Forty-four patients had confirmed and 14 patients had probable meningococcal disease. Fifty-seven patients received 12 MU (7.2 g) and 1 received 8 MU (4.8 g) of benzyl penicillin per day. Thirteen patients received additional antibiotics within the first 24 h because of diagnostic uncertainties. Patients received a mean (±SD) of 3.0 ± 0.5 days of treatment. No patients relapsed. Five patients died. All but 1 death occurred during benzyl penicillin treatment, and the only posttreatment death was not due to meningococcal disease. Three days of intravenous benzyl penicillin is sufficient treatment for adults with meningococcal disease. The usual recommendations for duration of treatment are excessive.

Journal Article.  3006 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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