A 25 year old, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seropositive, severe haemophilic patient was treated for suspected Pneumocystis carinii infection with high dose intravenous cotrimoxazole and subsequently with prednisolone. When he improved he was discharged on oral treatment only to return two days later, extremely unwell, with headaches, fever, sweats, tachycardia and hypotension. A lumbar puncture showed modest neutrophil pleocytosis but despite empirical antibiotic treatment with intravenous benzylpenicillin and cefuroxime he continued to deteriorate. Culture of cerebrospinal fluid subsequently grew Enterococcus faecalis that was resistant to trimethoprim and sensitive to ampicillin, rifampicin, and vancomycin. After a change in treatment to intravenous ampicillin and rifampicin he dramatically improved. Enterococcal meningitis is rare in adults but important to recognise and treat appropriately in view of its high mortality and relative resistance to antibiotics. In our case the combination of HIV infection and previous treatment with antibiotics or steroids, or both, were probable predisposing factors.
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