Neonatal Meningitis Differential Diagnoses
- Author: David C Dredge, MD; Chief Editor: Amy Kao, MD more...
Bacterial meningitis in neonates almost always occurs with sepsis but is difficult to distinguish clinically from sepsis alone; both present with a constellation of symptoms that indicate systemic illness. Therefore, treatment is started on the basis of presumed infection rather than proven infection. Because the goal in the neonate is to manage any life-threatening condition that will respond to intervention, the differential diagnosis includes disorders of cardiac, pulmonary, and metabolic functions.
Other central nervous system (CNS) problems may present in a manner that simulates meningitis. These include hemorrhage, ischemic stroke, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Cerebral edema associated with nonhemorrhagic trauma may present a confounding picture.
In addition, bacterial or viral meningitis always should be considered among the disorders that cause shock, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), or hepatic failure in neonates. However, by the time these conditions develop, the opportunity for successful intervention may have passed. Therefore, prompt consideration of meningitis remains prudent whenever a neonate demonstrates even slight lethargy or irritability.
Other conditions that should be considered are drug withdrawal, inborn errors of metabolism (including aminoacidopathies, organic acidurias, urea cycle disorders, and mitochondrial disease), and gastrointestinal problems such as necrotizing enterocolitis or perforated bowel. The possibility of nonaccidental trauma (ie, shaken baby syndrome) should be taken into account as well.
Volpe JJ. Bacterial and fungal intracranial infections. Neurology of the Newborn. 5th. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. 916-56.
Volpe JJ. Viral, protozoal, and related intracranial infections. Neurology of the Newborn. 5th. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. 851-915.
Krebs VLJ, Costa GAM. Clinical outcome of neonatal bacterial meningitis according to birth weight. Arq. December 2007. 65:1149-1153. [Medline].
Davies PA, Rudd PT. Incidence; The Developing Brain. Neonatal Meningitis. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press; 1994. Ch 1.
Klinger G, Chin CN, Beyene J, et al. Predicting the outcome of neonatal bacterial meningitis. Pediatrics. 2000 Sep. 106(3):477-82. [Medline].
Heath PT, Nik Yusoff NK, Baker CJ. Neonatal meningitis. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2003 May. 88(3):F173-8. [Medline].
Tiskumara R, Fakharee SH, Liu C-Q, Nuntnarumit P, Lui K-M, Hammoud M, et al. Neonatal infections in Asia. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. March 2009. 94:F144-8. [Medline].
Zaidi AK, Thaver D, Ali SA, Khan TA. Pathogens associated with sepsis in newborns and young infants in developing countries. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Jan. 28(1 Suppl):S10-8. [Medline].
Puopolo KM, Madoff LC, Eichenwald EC. Early-onset group B streptococcal disease in the era of maternal screening. Pediatrics. 2005 May. 115(5):1240-6. [Medline].
CDC. Trends in perinatal group B streptococcal disease - United States 2000-2006. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. February 2009. 58:109-112. [Medline].
CDC. Enterovirus surveillance--United States, 2002-2004. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006 Feb 17. 55(6):153-6. [Medline].
Tebruegge M, Curtis N. Enterovirus infections in neonates. Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. March 2009. 1-6. [Medline].
Levorson RE, Jantausch BA, Wiedermann BL, Spiegel HM, Campos JM. Human parechovirus-3 infection: emerging pathogen in neonatal sepsis. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Jun. 28(6):545-7. [Medline].
Selvarangan R, Nzabi M, Selvaraju SB, Ketter P, Carpenter C, Harrison CJ. Human parechovirus 3 causing sepsis-like illness in children from midwestern United States. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2011 Mar. 30(3):238-42. [Medline].
Hunter JH, Petrosyan M, Ford HR, Prasadarao NV. Enterobacter sakazakii: An emerging pathogen in infants and neonates. Surg Infect (Larchmt). October 2008. 9:533-539.
Kimberlin D. Herpes simplex virus, meningitis, and encephalitis in neonates. Herpes. 2004. 11 Supp 2:65A-76A. [Medline].
Thaver D, Zaidi AK. Burden of neonatal infections in developing countries: a review of evidence from community-based studies. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Jan. 28(1 Suppl):S3-9. [Medline].
de Louvois J, Halket S, Harvey D. Effect of meningitis in infancy on school-leaving examination results. Arch Dis Child. 2007 Nov. 92(11):959-62. [Medline].
Chang CJ, Chang HW, Chang WN, Huang LT, Huang SC, CHang YC. Seizures complicating infantile and childhood bacterial meningitis. Pediatr Neurol. September 2004. 32:165-171. [Medline].
Stevens JP, Eames M, Kent A, et al. Long term outcome of neonatal meningitis. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2003. 88:F179-184. [Medline].
Bedford H, de Louvois J, Halket S, et al. Meningitis in infancy in England and Wales: follow up at age 5 years. BMJ. 2001 Sep 8. 323(7312):533-6. [Medline].
Pong A, Bradley JS. Bacterial meningitis and the newborn infant. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1999 Sep. 13(3):711-33, viii. [Medline].
Unhanand M, Mustafa MM, McCracken Gh, Nelson JD. Gram-negative enteric bacillary meningitis: a twenty-one year experience. J Pediatr. January 1993. 122:15-21. [Medline].
Miyairi I, Causey KT, DeVincenzo JP, Buckingham SC. Group B streptococcal ventriculitis: a report of three cases and literature review. Pediatr Neurol. May 2006. 34:395-399. [Medline].
Ment LR, Ehrenkranz RA, Duncan CC. Bacterial meningitis as an etiology of perinatal cerebral infarction. Pediatr Neurol. September/October 1986. 2:276-279. [Medline].
Fitzgerald KC, Golomb MR. Neonatal arterial ischemic stroke and sinovenous thrombosis associated with meningitis. J Child Neurol. July 2007. 22:818-822. [Medline].
Bao X, Wong V. Brainstem auditory-evoked potential evaluation in children with meningitis. Pediatr Neurol. 1998 Aug. 19(2):109-12. [Medline].
Committee on Medical Liability, American Academy of Pediatrics. Berger JE ed, Deitschel CH Jr ed. Medical Liability for Pediatricians. 6th ed. 2004. 163, 169.
Malbon K, Mohan R, Nicholl R. Should a neonate with possible late onset infection always have a lumbar puncture?. Arch Dis Child. 2006 Jan. 91(1):75-6. [Medline].
Garges HP, Moody MA, Cotten CM, et al. Neonatal meningitis: what is the correlation among cerebrospinal fluid cultures, blood cultures, and cerebrospinal fluid parameters?. Pediatrics. 2006 Apr. 117(4):1094-100. [Medline].
Shah DK, Daley AJ, Hunt RW, Volpe JJ, Inder TE. Cerebral white matter injury in the newborn following Escherichia coli meningitis. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2005. 9:13-17. [Medline].
Malik GK, Trivedi R, Gupta A, Singh R, Prasad KN, Gupta RK. Quantitative DTI assessment of periventricular white matter changes in neonatal meningitis. Brain Dev. May 2008. 30:334-341. [Medline].
Klinger G, Chin CN, Otsubo H, et al. Prognostic value of EEG in neonatal bacterial meningitis. Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Jan. 24(1):28-31. [Medline].
Poblano A, Gutierrez R. Correlation between the neonatal EEG and the neurological examination in the first year of life in infants with bacterial meningitis. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. September 2007. 65:576-580. [Medline].
Stoll BJ, Hansen N, Fanaroff AA, et al. To tap or not to tap: high likelihood of meningitis without infection in very low birthweight infants. Pediatrics. 2004. 113:1181-6. [Medline].
Alarcon A, Pena P, Salas S, Sancha M, Omenaca F. Neonatal early onset Escherichia coli sepsis: trends in incidence and antimicrobial resistence in the era of intrapartum antimicrobial prophylaxis. Pediatr Infect Dis J. April 2004. 23:295-299. [Medline].
Pickering LD, ed. Red Book: 2006 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 27th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2006.
Thaver D, Ali SA, Zaidi AK. Antimicrobial resistance among neonatal pathogens in developing countries. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Jan. 28(1 Suppl):S19-21. [Medline].
Chaudhuri A. Adjunctive dexamethasone treatment in acute bacterial meningitis. Lancet Neurol. 2004 Jan. 3(1):54-62. [Medline].
Wellman MB, Sommer DD, McKenna J. Sensorineural hearing loss in postmeningitic children. Otol Neurotol. 2003 Nov. 24(6):907-12. [Medline].