Lethal neonatal meningoencephalitis caused by multi-drug resistant, highly virulent escherichia coli

Junaid Iqbal, Kevin R. Dufendach, John C. Wellons, Maria G. Kuba, Hilary H. Nickols, Oscar G. Gomez-Duarte, James L. Wynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Neonatal meningitis is a rare but devastating condition. Multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria represent a substantial global health risk. This study reports on an aggressive case of lethal neonatal meningitis due to a MDR Escherichia coli (serotype O75:H5:K1). Serotyping, MDR pattern and phylogenetic typing revealed that this strain is an emergent and highly virulent neonatal meningitis E. coli isolate. The isolate was resistant to both ampicillin and gentamicin; antibiotics currently used for empiric neo- natal sepsis treatment. The strain was also positive for multiple virulence genes including K1 capsule, fimbrial adhesion fimH, siderophore receptors iroN, fyuA and iutA, secreted autotransporter toxin sat, membrane associated proteases ompA and ompT, type II polysaccharide synthesis genes (kpsMTII) and pathogenicity-associated island (PAI)-associated malX gene. The presence of highly-virulent MDR organisms isolated in neonates underscores the need to implement rapid drug resistance diagnostic methods and should prompt consideration of alternate empiric therapy in neonates with Gram negative meningitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-466
Number of pages6
JournalInfectious Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Escherichia coli
  • Hypervirulence
  • Meningitis
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Multi-drug resistance
  • Neonate


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