Invasion of the Inner Ear by Haemophilus Influenzae Type B in Experimental Meningitis

Sheldon Kaplan, Edith P. Hawkins, Mark W. Kline, Gail S. Patrick, Edward Mason

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20 Scopus citations


Bacterial interstrain variation for cochlear invasion was studied by intraperitoneal inoculation of infant rats with Haemophilus influenzae type b. Eight pairs of CSF isolates from children with or without deafness due to meningitis were injected into half of each litter in separate experiments. At 48 h, quantitative CSF culture results and CSF white blood cell counts were equivalent for the two groups. Organisms within the cochlea were detected in four of eight animals in each group. There was no difference between the deaf and nondeaf isolates in the degree or frequency of inner ear inflammation in formalin-fixed sections. In separate experiments, animals were inoculated with H. influenzae type b and 24 h later treated with ampicillin, or ampicillin plus dexamethasone. At 48 h, although CSF white blood cell counts were significantly reduced in the steroid group, no difference was noted in the degree of cochlear inflammation between the two groups. The ability of H. influenzae type b to invade the inner ear of infant rats does not correlate with the development of sensorineural deafness in children fololowing H. influenzae type b meningitis. Steroid administration does not appear to diminish the inflammatory reaction within the cochlea more than antibiotics alone in this model, but may delay CSF sterilization by ampicillin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-930
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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