Red eyes as the initial presentation of systemic meningococcal infection


Dr WL Yeung, Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 6/F Clinical Science Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong. Fax: +852 2636 0020; email:


The present paper is a report of a 14-month-old boy who presented with fever, coryzal symptoms and red eyes. The patient developed a generalized tonic clonic convulsion on day 2 of his illness. Ophthalmological assessment demonstrated bilateral hypopyon and vitreous opacity resulting from endophthalmitis. Cerebrospinal fluid was positive for Neisseria meningitidis (A, C, Y, W 135) by latex agglutination. He was treated with high dose intravenous cefotaxime and intravitreal ceftazidime. He made good recovery and his vision was preserved. In view of the potential morbidity and mortality associated with systemic meningococcal infection, the presence of red eye and hypopyon provides important diagnostic clues indicating the need to investigate beyond superficial conjunctivitis. It should prompt the clinician to recognize endopthalmitis early and accurately diagnose this serious disease.