IPLab:Lab 13:Meningococcemia

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Clinical Summary

This 20-month-old black female was active and without complaint until 4 p.m. on the evening prior to her death, when according to her mother she acted as if she did not feel well. The mother reported that the child had felt warm at bedtime (8 p.m.) so she had given her some acetaminophen. At midnight, the child was given another dose of acetaminophen. The child slept with her mother that night who reported last hearing her daughter make a sound at approximately 7:30 a.m. The mother checked in on her daughter at 8:45 a.m. and found her to be unresponsive. The girl was dead when paramedics arrived. Her past medical history was unremarkable and there had been no recent illness among other family members.

Autopsy Findings

External examination revealed multiple purpuric and ecchymotic cutaneous lesions, most notable in the inguinal areas. Microscopic examination of these skin lesions revealed thrombosis and rupture of small dermal vessels. There were scattered visceral petechial hemorrhages and both adrenal glands were grossly hemorrhagic. There was no gross or microscopic evidence of meningitis. However, a Gram stain of cerebrospinal fluid showed Gram-negative diplococci. Cultures were positive for Neisseria meningitides.

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