Meningitis following spinal anesthesia: 6 cases in 5 years

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2007 Oct;28(10):1187-90. doi: 10.1086/520748. Epub 2007 Aug 1.


We describe 6 cases of meningitis after spinal anesthesia associated with a single anesthesiologist over the course of 5 years. The earliest case occurred in 2000, and the other 5 cases occurred over the course of 14 months in 2004-2005. The case identified in 2000 was culture-positive for Streptococcus salivarius. The other 5 cases were culture-negative for this organism but in 2 cases, the cerebrospinal fluid was found to be positive for bacterial DNA that was identified as belonging to S. salivarius by sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The association with a single anesthesiologist and a single hospital during a relatively short interval, however, lead us to believe that these occurrences are part of a series associated with possible violations of aseptic technique.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerosols / adverse effects
  • Aged
  • Anesthesia, Spinal / adverse effects*
  • Anesthesiology*
  • Cross Infection / etiology*
  • Cross Infection / genetics
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient*
  • Male
  • Masks / standards
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / etiology*
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Streptococcus / classification
  • Streptococcus / pathogenicity


  • Aerosols