Acute Bacterial Meningitis in Infants and Children: Epidemiology and Management

Agrawal, Shruti; Nadel, Simon
December 2011
Pediatric Drugs;2011, Vol. 13 Issue 6, p385
Academic Journal
Acute bacterial meningitis (ABM) continues to be associated with high mortality and morbidity, despite advances in antimicrobial therapy. The causative organism varies with age, immune function, immunization status, and geographic region, and empiric therapy for meningitis is based on these factors. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Neisseria meningitidis cause the majority of cases of ABM.Disease epidemiology is changing rapidly due to immunization practices and changing bacterial resistance patterns. Hib was the leading cause of meningitis in children prior to the introduction of an effective vaccination. In those countries where Hib vaccine is a part of the routine infant immunization schedule, Hib has now been virtually eradicated as a cause of childhood meningitis. Vaccines have also been introduced for pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases, which have significantly changed the disease profile. Where routine pneumococcal immunization has been introduced there has been a reported increase in invasive pneumococcal disease due to non-vaccine serotypes.In those parts of the world that have introduced conjugate meningococcal vaccines, there has been a significant change in the epidemiology of meningococcal meningitis. As a part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4, the WHO has introduced a new vaccine policy to improve vaccine availability in resource poor countries.In addition, antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem, especially with pneumococcal infection. Effective treatment focuses on early recognition and use of effective antibiotics.This review will attempt to focus on the changing epidemiology of ABM in pediatric patients due to vaccination, the changing patterns of infecting bacterial serotypes due to vaccination, and on antibiotic resistance and its impact on current management strategies.


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