The role of particular strains of Neisseria meningitidis in meningococcal arthritis, pericarditis, and pneumonia.Clin Infect Dis. 2003 Dec 15; 37(12):1639-42.CI
The clinical presentations of meningococcal diseases other than meningitis or meningococcemia may lead to erroneous diagnosis. Although several reports have described unusual meningococcal diseases, the Neisseria meningitidis strains involved in these forms have been poorly characterized. In this study, meningococcal arthritis and pericarditis were confirmed by isolation of N. meningitidis and/or detection of meningococcal DNA in synovial or pericardial fluid, respectively, and meningococcal pneumonia was detected by isolation of N. meningitidis from blood. From 1999 through 2002, meningococcal disease was bacteriologically confirmed in 26 cases of arthritis, 6 cases of pericarditis, and 33 cases of pneumonia by the National Reference Center for the Meningococci in Paris. We found a statistically significant association between strains of serogroup W135, mostly of the clonal complex ET-37, and arthritis. Pneumonia was most frequently diagnosed in patients aged >70 years, and 54.5% of the strains belonged to serogroup W135, although these strains had heterogeneous phenotypes. Bacteremia is a key step in the pathophysiology of meningococcal disease and precedes any form of invasive infection.