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Staphylococcal Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome

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In 1911 Rupert Waterhouse described a case of “suprarenal apoplexy” in the Lancet. The syndrome that became known as the Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is characterised by petechial rash, coagulopathy, cardiovascular collapse, and bilateral adrenal haemorrhage, and is associated with meningococcal septicaemia. In a 1955 review Carl Friderichsen reported that about 20% of cases were caused by other organisms, mainly pneumococci. Since then there have been occasional reports of Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome caused by pneumococci, beta-haemolytic streptococci, …

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