Glen Tamura gtamura at u.washington.edu
Tue Jul 14 11:43:10 EST 1998


It is definitely possible for CSF to have a negative gram stain and be
culture positive. In such cases, I think the cfu/ml are probably quite
low (>1000cfu/ml). The vast majority of culture positive cases have a
positive gram stain, in which case I would expect the count to be quite
high (>10Kcfu/ml). This is, alas, based upon no real data, just the
personal experience of the lab techs at our hospital. 

Glen Tamura

On Tue, 14 Jul 1998, Andy wrote:

> Glen (and others)
> Thanks for your reply!
> I should have made my question more specific.
> I am well aware that any bacteria in CSF is significant (barring
> contaminants).
> However, what I need to know is that when a patient has a bacterial
> meningitis, what level of bacteria would one expect to find!
> It appears that this question has not been answered in many text books as any
> quantity is considered significant!
> Does anyone know the answer?
> I remember looking at CSF and sometimes one could see on a wet prep bacteria!
> So the number can be significant! However, that may just be some cases.
> Are there bacterial meningitis cases where bacteria would be virtually
> undetectable by microscopy?
> Andy

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