After deployment of the Haemophilus influenzae vaccination, the range of pathogens causing acute epiglottitis has changed, as has the epidemiology from a primarily pediatric syndrome towards more frequent adult onset.
We present a case of acute-onset meningococcal epiglottitis in an adult patient, to our knowledge one of a few reported cases in the medical literature. We review the historic changes and outcomes of similar episodes.
A 37-year-old diabetic man presented to our Emergency Department in acute respiratory distress. Examination revealed epiglottitis; his airway subsequently closed rapidly and was secured by surgical cricothyroidotomy; blood cultures showed the primary pathogen to be Neisseria meningitidis type C.
Neisseria meningitidis has been found to be an emerging cause of acute epiglottitis in adult patients over the last decade, possibly having worsened outcomes compared to other etiologies.
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Published online: July 23, 2010
Accepted: May 17, 2010
Received in revised form: February 16, 2010
Received: December 2, 2009
© 2012 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.