Objectives: Because meningitis may trigger seizures, we sought to determine its frequency in children with first-time status epilepticus (SE).
Methods: We performed a retrospective cross-sectional study of children aged 1 month to 21 years who presented to a single pediatric emergency department between 1995 and 2012 with SE and who had a lumbar puncture (LP) performed as part of the diagnostic evaluation. We defined bacterial meningitis as a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture positive for a bacterial pathogen or CSF pleocytosis (CSF white blood cells ≥10 cells/mm) with a blood culture positive for a bacterial pathogen. We defined viral meningitis or encephalitis using a positive enterovirus or herpes simplex virus polymerase chain reaction test.
Results: Among 126 children with SE who had an LP performed, 8 (6%) had CSF pleocytosis. Of these, 5 had received antibiotics before performance of a diagnostic LP. One child in the cohort was proven to have bacterial meningitis (0.8%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0%-6%). Two other children had enteroviral meningitis (2/13 tested, 15%; 95% CI, 3%-51%), and 1 had a herpes simplex virus infection (1/47, 2%; 95% CI, 0%-15%).
Conclusions: Bacterial meningitis is an uncommon cause of SE.