Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Case Report

Group B streptococcus meningitis and infection surrounding the spinal canal caused by bacterial transmission from rectal ulcer via Batson's plexus

Ryosuke Tsutsumi, M.D., Masaaki Saito, M.D., Ph.D. and Toshihiro Yoshizawa, M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Neurology, Kanto Medical Center NTT EC

A 62-year-old man was admitted to our hospital because of fever and disturbed consciousness. He suffered from persistent constipation due to diabetic autonomic neuropathy. On admission, neck stiffness and weakness of the lower extremities were observed. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pleocytosis and decreased CSF glucose concentration showed the presence of meningitis. Bacterial culture of CSF was negative. One week after admission, he suddenly suffered from massive bleeding from the rectum, where a hemorrhagic ulcer caused by severe persistent constipation was observed. Contrast-enhanced CT scans and gadolinium-enhanced MR scans demonstrated a lumbar spinal epidural abscess, paraspinal muscle abscess, and cervical osteomyelitis. Streptococcus agalactiae, a bacterial species belonging to the group B streptococci, was isolated from pus obtained by needle puncture of the paraspinal muscle abscess. His entire condition was treated successfully with ampicillin and cefotaxime. Group B streptococci normally colonize the mucous membrane of the genital or lower gastrointestinal regions and rarely cause a spinal epidural abscess. However, in this case, the existence of a rectal ulcer probably made it possible for S. agalactiae to cause an infection of the epidural space or paraspinal muscles via the spinal valveless venous system named Batson's plexus communicating with the sacral, pelvic, and prostatic venous plexus. Our case indicated the importance of Batson's plexus in group B streptococcus infections surrounding the spinal canal and the necessity to explore for intrapelvic lesions including a rectal ulcer.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (864K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 51: 493|498, 2011)
key words: Group B Streptococcus, Streptococcus agalactiae, epidural abscess, rectal ulcer, Batson's plexus

(Received: 6-Feb-11)