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A Case of Atraumatic, Streptococcal Pneumocephalus: A Rare Complication of Influenza B Infection

Muhammed Atere, Vaithilingam Arulthasan, Jay M. Nfonoyim

(Department of Internal Medicine, Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, NY, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e923029

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.923029

BACKGROUND: Pneumocephalus is a rare occurrence without trauma, neurosurgery, or intracranial pathology. It is an uncommon complication of bacterial meningitis, and it is usually diagnosed with a CT head. Bacterial pneumocephalus in the setting of influenza B virus infection is an extremely rare complication; however, vaccination against influenza and early diagnosis and treatment help prevent mortality.
CASE REPORT: A 51-year-old woman presented to the Emergency Department in early winter because of worsening mental status over seven days prior to presentation. She was not vaccinated against influenza. Before and upon presentation to our facility, she was diagnosed with influenza B virus infection and was positive for streptococcal meningitis. A CT head revealed pneumocephalus, likely due to Streptococcus infection. She was treated with antibiotics, and a repeat CT head showed resolution of the lesion.
CONCLUSIONS: Bacterial pneumocephalus in the background of influenza is an uncommon occurrence. Influenza vaccination and early diagnosis with a CT of the head and prompt initiation of antibiotics are essential in preventing mortality.

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