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January 1978

Listeria Cerebritis: Relapse of Infection in Renal Transplant Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Infectious Diseases (Drs Watson and Kluge), and Nephrology (Dr Fuller), Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, and the Department of Medicine (Dr Elms), Southwestern Medical School, Dallas.

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(1):83-87. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630250053018

In 3 cases of Listeria cerebritis, two of the patients had relapse with cerebritis after antimicrobial therapy for acute Listeria septicemia or meningitis. Each had received ten to 14 days of intravenous penicillin. Relapse occurred with fever and sudden focal cerebral dysfunction. Brain scans showed focal uptake; arteriograms and computerized tomography were normal. Cerebrospinal fluids were nondiagnostic; blood cultures yielded Listeria in two patients. Penicillin treatment for six weeks produced rapid clinical responses that were complete in one and minimal residual in two. Progress brain scans were normal. A relapse rate of 35% is reported in transplant patients with Listeria meningitis and/or bacteremia who are treated for less than three weeks; to our knowledge, cerebritis in such patients has not been reported previously. High-dose penicillin or ampicillin therapy for four to six weeks is recommended for Listeria infections in this select group.

(Arch Intern Med 138:83-87, 1978)