meningitis

Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency associated with high mortality rates. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture is the “gold standard” for diagnosis of meningitis and it is important to establish the susceptibility of the causative microorganism to rationalize treatment. The Namibia Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) recommends initiation of empirical antibiotic treatment in patients with signs and symptoms of meningitis after taking a CSF sample for culture and sensitivity. The objective of this study was to assess the antimicrobial sensitivity patterns of microorganisms isolated from CSF to antibiotics commonly used in the empirical treatment of suspected bacterial meningitis in Namibia. The common organisms isolated from CSF were Streptococcus Pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis,Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus, and E. coli. All common organisms isolated from CSF showed high sensitivity to cephalosporins used in the empirical treatment of meningitis. The resistance of the common isolates to penicillin is high. Most ESBL K. pneumoniae were isolated from CSF samples drawn from neonates and were found to be resistant to the antibiotics recommended in the Namibia STGs. Based on these findings, it is recommended to use a combination of aminoglycoside and third-generation cephalosporin to treat non–ESBL Klebsiella isolates. Carbapenems (e.g., meropenem) and piperacillin/tazobactam should be considered for treating severely ill patients with suspected ESBL Klebsiella infection. Namibia should have a national antimicrobial resistance surveillance system for early detection of antibiotics that may no longer be effective in treating meningitis and other life-threatening infections due to resistance.

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