There are ∼250 cases of neonatal bacterial meningitis each year in the UK. Clinical evaluation of signs and symptoms of meningitis is challenging, particularly, during the neonatal period. Although uncommon, it is recognised that bacterial meningitis can be present in a child with an apparently normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) initially.We report the case of a newborn baby girl who was admitted with concerns regarding 2 dusky episodes. She underwent blood tests, a lumbar puncture and was started on intravenous antibiotics. With negative cultures, normal blood results and following a significant clinical improvement, antibiotics were discontinued after 48 hours and the baby was discharged home. She re-presented to the children's emergency department 7 hours later with a history of an apnoeic episode. A second CSF sample was suggestive of bacterial meningitis. We will discuss the published literature and the potential drawbacks of lumbar punctures and ways to diagnose meningitis early.
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