Unexpected and Sudden Death Due to Undiagnosed Moraxella catarrhalis Meningoencephalitis in a 40-day-old Infant: Case Report and Literature Review

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Abstract

Acute bacterial meningitis in infants and newborns represents a medical emergency and a significant cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Moraxella catarrhalis has been considered a microorganism with low pathogenic potential, and only in exceptional cases has it been found to cause meningitis in infants and immunocompetent people. We will now document an unusual case of an unexpected and sudden death of a 40-day-old infant due to acute meningitis from M. catarrhalis, apparently asymptomatic and subsequently diagnosed by an autopsy. According to our knowledge this is the first case of unexpected infant death due to undiagnosed M. catarrhalis meningitis.The suggested case, as well as for the rarity of such a fatal event, should be considered a caution to pediatrics and neonatologists for M. catarrhalis can cause paucisymptomatic meningoencephalitis in infants which can be potentially fatal.From a forensic point of view, an autopsy accompanied by a multidisciplinary assessment is always necessary in cases of unexpected infant deaths to identify the causes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-337
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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