Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS)

Resources to help you ensure the safe and effective use of antimicrobials in NSHA patients.

Meningitis (adult community-acquired)

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Listeria monocytogenes (age >50 years, excessive alcohol consumption, pregnant, immunocompromised)
  • Haemophilus influenzae (now very rare)
  • Viruses: Enteroviruses most common  

Last reviewed November 2018

Local ceftriaxone resistance in S. pneumoniae is estimated to be less than or equal to 3%

Last reviewed November 2018

  • Collect 2 sets of blood cultures
  • Head CT prior to lumbar puncture if focal neurological signs, papilledema, altered mentation, new onset seizures, impaired cellular immunity
  • Lumbar puncture
    • Defer if high bleeding risk (INR >1.4, platelets < 50 x 109/L ) 
    • Cell count, glucose, protein, Gram stain, culture, opening pressure
    • Negative Gram stain does not exclude bacterial meningitis: sensitivity 60-90%, lower for Listeria (<50%)
    • Typical CSF findings: elevated WBC (predominately neutrophils; may be predominantly lymphocytes and/or monocytes with Listeria), elevated protein, low glucose
      • Predictors of bacterial infection: WBC ≥ 500 x 106/L, CSF-blood glucose ratio ≤ 0.4
    • CSF PCR if suspect viral causes (e.g. Enteroviruses)

Last reviewed November 2018

  • Delay of antibiotics increases mortality. Do not delay antibiotics if neuroimaging and/or LP is delayed.
  • Initiate droplet and contact precautions and notify Infection Prevention and Control
  • Contact Public Health
  • Repeat LP if poor clinical response after 48 hours OR resistant S. pneumoniae confirmed 

Last reviewed November 2018

  • Dexamethasone 10 mg IV q6h should be started with or immediately before the FIRST dose of antibiotic and continued for 4 days if the causative agent is found to be S. pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae. 
  • Ceftriaxone 2 g IV q12h + vancomycin 25 mg/kg total body weight (TBW) IV loading dose followed by 15 mg/kg IV q8-12h (adjust for renal function)
    • Vancomycin should be discontinued for S. pneumoniae if susceptibility to ceftriaxone is confirmed (using CNS minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) breakpoints). 
  • Add ampicillin 2 g IV q4h (adjust for renal function) for Listeria coverage if age > 50 or risk factors (excessive alcohol consumption, immunocompromised, pregnant)

Last reviewed January 2024

For allergies to any first-line agents consult Infectious Diseases 

Last reviewed November 2018

  • Neisseria meningitidis 7 days
  • Haemophilus influenzae 7 days
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae 10–14 days
  • Listeria monocytogenes ≥ 21 days  

Last reviewed November 2018

  • Immunocompromised (steroids, transplant patients, those with HIV) may may be at risk for fungal meningitis (e.g. Cryptococcus)
  • For S. pneumoniae CNS infections, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) breakpoints for penicillin and ceftriaxone differ from non-CNS infections. Consult microbiology for interpretation of susceptibility results if necessary.

Last reviewed November 2018

1. Tunkel AR, Hartman BJ, Kaplan SL, Kaufman BA, Roos KL, Scheld WM, Whitley RJ. Practice guidelines for the management of bacterial meningitis. Clin Infect Dis. 2004;39(9):1267-84.

2. Tunkel AR, van de Beek D, Scheld WM. Acute meningitis. [edited by] John E. Bennett, Raphael Dolin, Martin J. Blaser. Mandell, Douglas, And Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. Philadelphia, PA :Elsevier/Saunders, 2015. Print.

3. Straus SE, Thorpe KE, Holroyd-Leduc J.How do I perform a lumbar puncture and analyze the results to diagnose bacterial meningitis? JAMA. 2006 Oct 25;296(16):2012-22.

4. Brouwer MC, McIntyre P, Prasad K, van de Beek D. Corticosteroids for acute bacterial meningitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Sep 12;(9):CD004405.

Last reviewed November 2018