Meningitis caused by Bacillus pyocyaneus, a rare and highly fatal disease, has occurred repeatedly as a complication of common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures employing puncture of the lumbar subarachnoid space. Though only 55 cases (table) of this disease have been reported to date, in no less than 20 the disease was the direct result of such a procedure.
This is the report of a fatal B. pyocyaneus meningitis following pneumoencephalography and a review of the literature pertinent to its occurrence. The latter will indicate the variety of sources from which contamination has taken place and should serve as a warning of the very real dangers encountered in the nevertheless valuable procedures employing lumbar puncture.
Though B. pyocyaneus is usually saprophytic and when pathogenic usually benign, its presence as the etiologic agent of purulent meningitis spells a poor prognosis. The gross mortality in 52 cases