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Article
June 1983

An Unusual Cause of Bacterial Meningitis in the Elderly: Propionibacterium acnes

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Geriatric Medicine, Medical Service (Drs Ueunten, Tobias, Sochat, and Yoshikawa), Infectious Diseases, Research Service (Ms Miranda and Dr Mulligan), and the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (Dr Yoshikawa), West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles (Drs Yoshikawa and Mulligan).

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(6):388-389. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04050060088019
Abstract

Bacterial meningitis is an infection that primarily affects children.1 Compared with the frequency of the disease in children, its prevalence in elderly persons is relatively low. However, a considerable number of cases still occur in the geriatric population. More importantly, the clinical manifestations of bacterial meningitis in aged patients may be atypical, and the associated mortality in that age group is exceedingly high.2 The high death rate of elderly patients with bacterial meningitis may be related to several factors, including age itself, presence of underlying diseases, failure of clinicians to make an early diagnosis, and isolation of unusual pathogens from the CSF.3,4 Such unusual pathogens as gram-negative bacilli, Staphylococcus aureus, group D enterococcus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis have been reported to cause meningitis in elderly persons.2,3,5,6 We report another unusual cause of bacterial meningitis, Propionibacterium acnes, which has not been previously reported in an elderly person

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