Neonatal meningitis in England and Wales: 10 years on

Holt, D. E.; Halket, S.; de Louvojs, J.; Harvey, D.
March 2001
Archives of Disease in Childhood -- Fetal & Neonatal Edition;Mar2001, Vol. 84 Issue 2, pF85
Academic Journal
Objectives-To determine the incidence of neonatal meningitis in England and Wales. Design-A national postal survey using the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) card scheme supplemented by information from other sources. Setting-England and Wales 1996-1997. total of 274 babies less than 28 days of age who were treated for meningitis. Results-The incidence of neonatal meningitis in England and Wales has not changed Since our previous study in 1985-1987. However, the acute phase mortality has fallen from 19.8% in 1985-1987 to 6.6% in this study. Group 13 Streptococci (42%) and Escherichia coil (16%) remain the most common infecting microorganisms. Eight of 69 (12%) babies with group 13 streptococci and 4/26 (15%) with E coil died. Antibiotic regimens based on the third generation cephalosporins notably cefotaxime, were most commonly used (84%). The BPSU Scheme identified 72% of cases during the study period. Most cases of viral meningitis were not reported through the BPSU. Less than a third of samples from aseptic meningitis were examined for viruses; 56% of these were Positive. Conclusions-Although the incidence of neonatal meningitis remains unchanged, mortality from this infection has fallen significantly If this improvement is maintained as reflected in the level of sequelae at 5 years of age, then the fear surrounding meningitis during the neonatal period will have been dramatically reduced.


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