The clinical outcome in fifty-seven infants with Escherichia coli meningitis was analysed with respect to the presence or absence of K1 capsular polysaccharide antigen. Mortality and morbidity in E. coli K1 meningitis were significantly greater than in meningitis caused by E. coli non-K1 strains. The amount of K1 antigen and length of time K1 antigen was present in serum and cerebrospinal fluid, as measured by countercurrent immuno-electrophoresis, were directly related to clinical outcome. E. coli K1 strains were more virulent in mice than non-K1 strains, and the lethal dose of K1 strains from infants who died was significantly lower than those values from infants who survived E. coli K1 meningitis.
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