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August 1962

Changing Patterns of Staphylococcal Meningitis

Author Affiliations

Present address: Box 1559, USAF Hospital Lackland, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas (Dr. Harter).; From the New York Neurological Institute, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and Department of Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Arch Neurol. 1962;7(2):114-120. doi:10.1001/archneur.1962.04210020036004

Staphylococcus aureus is an infrequent invader of the central nervous system. The organism may enter the neuraxis by direct spread from a focus of infection about the skull or spine or by hematogenous dissemination. The former occurs in such conditions as facial cellulitis, septic cavernous sinus thrombosis, head trauma, and subdural and epidural abscess,1 the latter in staphylococcal septicemia.2 Prior to the availability of antibiotics, staphylococcal meningitis was almost always fatal, and until 1942 only 48 recoveries from the disease had been reported.3

Since the introduction of antibacterial agents, the number of cases of staphylococcal meningitis seen yearly has risen.4 It is not known, however, whether there has been a change in the manner in which the organism gains access to the nervous system or in the pattern of the disease which results. To answer these questions, the records of patients with staphylococcal meningitis seen at

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