Meningococcal Pneumonia: Characterization and Review of Cases Seen Over the Past 25 Years

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Fifty-eight cases of meningococcal pneumonia were included in this review. Fifty cases previously described in the literature from 1974 through 1998 and 8 new cases were included in this series. The median age of patients was 57.5 years, and pleuritic chest pain was described in 21 (53.9%) of 39 cases. Blood cultures were positive in 42 (79.3%) of 53 cases for which results were mentioned. Despite the presence of bacteremia, patients did not develop the syndrome of meningococcemia with its associated complications. Serogroup Y meningococci were most commonly recovered and accounted for 44.2% of identified isolates. Therapy has dramatically changed over the past 25 years; prior to 1991, penicillin antibiotics were most often used. Since 1991, 12 (80%) of 15 patients received cephalosporin antibiotics. Only 5 (8.62%) of 58 patients died. Secondary cases of meningococcal infections following exposure to patients with meningococcal pneumonia were noted in 2 instances.

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