Acute abdomen as an atypical presentation of meningococcal septicaemia

Scand J Infect Dis. 1998;30(6):629-30. doi: 10.1080/00365549850161296.


The clinical manifestations and course of meningococcal disease have been well described, but atypical presentations may, if unrecognized, lead to a delay in treatment. We describe here an unusual case of this disease in a 21-y-old woman who presented with an acute rigid abdomen, clinical and laboratory features of sepsis, shock and early DIC with no indication of meningococcal infection. She developed a rapidly spreading purpuric rash, conjunctival haemorrhages, hypotension and tachycardia and a low urine output. Laboratory investigations showed a low platelet count, low haemoglobin and normal WBC. A presumptive diagnosis of meningococcal septicaemia was made and recovery followed treatment with cefotaxime, fluids and inotropes. A fully sensitive Neisseria meningitis Group C, type 2a, subtype NT was isolated from blood cultures, but not from CSF obtained after antibiotic treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen, Acute / etiology*
  • Adult
  • Bacteremia / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meningococcal Infections / complications*