Listeria monocytogenes is an unusual bacterial agent in meningitis.1-3 The majority of human case reports have been in infants, pregnant females, and farm workers.4-10 There have been few documented reports of Listeria meningitis among the urban population in the United States.2,11 The rarity of this diagnosis may be due in part to the bacteriological similarity of the organism to common diphtheroid culture contaminants.We have recently observed fatal Listeria meningitis in 2 city dwellers. The organism was isolated during life, and characteristic bacteriologic and animal inoculation reactions were demonstrated. Postmortem examination confirmed the diagnoses.
Report of Cases
A 40-year-old white woman was admitted to the hospital in coma. She had been well until 2 years previously when active pulmonary tuberculosis was diagnosed and chemotherapy with streptomycin, p-aminosalicylic acid, and isoniazid was begun. One year later her chest x-rays were within normal limits, as