Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 326-328

Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome in an adult patient with meningococcal meningitis

Department of Microbiology, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Sion, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Vasant Baradkar
Department of Microbiology, L.T.M.M.C and L.T.M.G.H, Sion, Mumbai - 400 022
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.82496

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Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is one of the fatal complications of meningococcal infection. Here we report a fatal case of this syndrome due to Neisseria meningitidis in a 29-year-old male patient who was admitted with high-grade fever and chills and vomiting since 7 days, a skin rash over the abdomen and trunk, and altered sensorium since 2 days. On examination, the signs of meningitis were present along with the hemorrhagic rash. The diagnosis of adrenal hemorrhage was confirmed by computerized tomographic scan findings. The patient was started on intravenous ceftriaxone, and the cerebrospinal fluid was processed for bacterial culture, which yielded growth of N meningitidis. The patient's condition deteriorated; he developed purpura along with a fall in platelet count, and died due to shock. This case is being reported as such a complication is comparatively rare in this antibiotic era, especially in adults, and starting steroids like dexamethasone prior to antibacterial therapy may be useful to diminish the inflammation brought about by bacterial cell death and thus help in reducing the otherwise high mortality in these cases.

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