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March 1954

POLYMYXIN B THERAPY OF MENINGITIS FOLLOWING PROCEDURES ON CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: Beneficial Therapeutic Effect of Polymyxin B in Meningitis Due to Organisms of the Colon Group

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the Cincinnati General Hospital.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1954;93(3):367-378. doi:10.1001/archinte.1954.00240270053005

ONE PARTICULAR method whereby ordinarily noninvasive organisms of low virulence may produce clinical disease is their inadvertent introduction into various areas of the body during certain procedures. If the area is poorly controlled by host defences, the organism may flourish and frank infection may ensue. Thus, superficial infections of the urinary tract may result from contamination during instrumentation, and, similarly, meningitis may be produced by the injection of contaminated material into the cerebrospinal fluid. Meningitis due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa has followed simple lumbar puncture*; the injection of serum,7 unsterile solutions of spinal anesthetics,† or antibiotics,‡ and pneumoencephalography,§ in which the air passed through a contaminated water trap. Infected craniospinal wounds, surgical and traumatic, have also resulted in Pseudomonas meningitis.∥ The mortality in untreated cases is substantial.

Recent success in treating Pseudomonas meningitis with polymyxin B¶ has prompted us to review five such cases, seen recently at the Cincinnati General Hospital