Open Access Open Badges Research article

Haematogenous Staphylococcus aureus meningitis. A 10-year nationwide study of 96 consecutive cases

Michael Pedersen1*, Thomas L Benfield1, Peter Skinhoej1 and Allan G Jensen23

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

2 Staphylococcal Laboratory, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, 2300 Copenhagen, Denmark

3 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2006, 6:49  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-49

Published: 16 March 2006



Haematogenous Staphylococcus aureus meningitis is rare but associated with high mortality. Knowledge about the disease is still limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate demographic and clinical prognostic features of bacteraemic S. aureus meningitis.


Nationwide surveillance in Denmark from 1991 to 2000 with clinical and bacteriological data. Risks of death were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression analysis.


Among 12480 cases of S. aureus bacteraemia/sepsis, we identified 96 cases of non-surgical bacteraemic S. aureus meningitis (0.8%). Incidence rates were 0.24 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18 to 0.30)/100 000 population between 1991–1995 and 0.13 (CI, 0.08 to 0.17)/100 000 population between 1996–2000. Mortality was 56%. After adjustment, only co morbidity (hazard ratio [HR], 3.45; CI, 1.15 to 10.30) and critical illness (Pitt score ≥ 4) (HR, 2.14; CI, 1.09 to 4.19) remained independent predictors of mortality.


The incidence, but not mortality of bacteraemic S. aureus meningitis decreased during the study period. Co morbidity and critical illness were independent predictors of a poor outcome.