A 25-year-old man was previously healthy until he contracted acute Propionibacterium acnes meningitis. Comparison with previous reports of de novo diphtheroid meningitis suggests that this entity can appear with features that are not characteristic of acute bacterial meningitis, including (1) stroke-like syndromes, (2) an afebrile course, and (3) a cerebrospinal fluid with a mononuclear pleocytosis and normal glucose level. The appropriate choice and dosage of antimicrobial agent must be guided by more than in vitro sensitivity data to prevent relapse and possible chronic meningitis. Although diphtheroids are as a rule exquisitely sensitive to penicillin, predictably high tissue levels of drug in diphtheroid meningitis are best achieved with chloramphenicol treatment. In the appropriate setting, the isolation of diphtheroids from cerebrospinal fluid should not be discounted as a "contaminant."
(Arch Intern Med 137:921-923, 1977)