Neisseria meningitidis Causing Acute Epiglottitis in an Adult: A Case Report and Review of Literature

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With the advent of vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae serotype B, acute epiglottitis in children has significantly decreased in the past several decades. As a result, now most cases of acute epiglottitis occur in adult population. Neisseria meningitidis epiglottitis is rare in humans. We report a case of acute epiglottitis caused by N. meningitidis in an 82-year-old patient from East Sussex Healthcare Trust, United Kingdom. This patient presented to our emergency department with odynophagia, sore throat, pyrexia, and respiratory distress. Examination revealed severe swelling in the epiglottis and surrounding areas. The airway was secured rapidly by intubation. Blood culture yielded N. meningitidis serotype W135. The patient was treated with appropriate antibiotics and discharged well. All contacts and the health care personnel who were involved in the management of this patient, who met with the prophylaxis criteria, received chemoprophylaxis. This patient was similar to those previously reported (11 cases) in the literature in terms of the following: (a) clinical presentation, (b) intubation to secure airway, (c) responding well to the antimicrobial therapy, (d) received steroids, and (e) discharged well. We also describe the epidemiological features of 11 patients with acute epiglottitis caused by N. meningitidis.

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