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An elderly lady was admitted for pain management and rehabilitation following a fall. During her stay she developed a new heart murmur and sepsis. Subacute bacterial endocarditits was excluded, empirical ciprofloxacin was initiated and later converted to aztreonam with gentamicin for clinical deterioration. Subsequent investigations revealed meningococcal Y septicaemia secondary to pneumonia, with a possible oropharynx focus. Upon discharge she had returned to baseline state. The case reflects an unusual and increasing cause of pneumonia. A steady increase of infective serogroup Y isolates over the past 12-years in England, with tendency towards elderly makes it a significant differential among the general medical population. This trend corresponds with the US, but is yet unknown whether to be a periodic cycle or true change in dominance and, or, virulence among serogroups. If the latter were true, it would support the inclusion of serogroups beyond menigitides C in the vaccination program.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Case Rep

Publication Date





Accidental Falls, Aged, 80 and over, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Diagnosis, Differential, Diagnostic Imaging, Female, Humans, Meningococcal Infections, Meningococcal Vaccines, Pneumonia, Bacterial, Sepsis, Serotyping