Bacterial Meningitis in the United States, 1998–2007

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA.
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 05/2011; 364(21):2016-25. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1005384
Source: PubMed


The rate of bacterial meningitis declined by 55% in the United States in the early 1990s, when the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccine for infants was introduced. More recent prevention measures such as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and universal screening of pregnant women for group B streptococcus (GBS) have further changed the epidemiology of bacterial meningitis.
We analyzed data on cases of bacterial meningitis reported among residents in eight surveillance areas of the Emerging Infections Programs Network, consisting of approximately 17.4 million persons, during 1998-2007. We defined bacterial meningitis as the presence of H. influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, GBS, Listeria monocytogenes, or Neisseria meningitidis in cerebrospinal fluid or other normally sterile site in association with a clinical diagnosis of meningitis.
We identified 3188 patients with bacterial meningitis; of 3155 patients for whom outcome data were available, 466 (14.8%) died. The incidence of meningitis changed by -31% (95% confidence interval [CI], -33 to -29) during the surveillance period, from 2.00 cases per 100,000 population (95% CI, 1.85 to 2.15) in 1998-1999 to 1.38 cases per 100,000 population (95% CI 1.27 to 1.50) in 2006-2007. The median age of patients increased from 30.3 years in 1998-1999 to 41.9 years in 2006-2007 (P<0.001 by the Wilcoxon rank-sum test). The case fatality rate did not change significantly: it was 15.7% in 1998-1999 and 14.3% in 2006-2007 (P=0.50). Of the 1670 cases reported during 2003-2007, S. pneumoniae was the predominant infective species (58.0%), followed by GBS (18.1%), N. meningitidis (13.9%), H. influenzae (6.7%), and L. monocytogenes (3.4%). An estimated 4100 cases and 500 deaths from bacterial meningitis occurred annually in the United States during 2003-2007.
The rates of bacterial meningitis have decreased since 1998, but the disease still often results in death. With the success of pneumococcal and Hib conjugate vaccines in reducing the risk of meningitis among young children, the burden of bacterial meningitis is now borne more by older adults. (Funded by the Emerging Infections Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.).

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Available from: Ann R Thomas, Nov 09, 2015
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    • "While bacterial meningitis causes significant morbidity and mortality despite advances in antibiotic therapy, aseptic meningitis is typically a benign condition requiring only supportive care [1]. Rapid differentiation between bacterial and aseptic meningitis allows early initiation of appropriate therapy for children at risk for having bacterial meningitis without overtreating low-risk children. "
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    • "During the past years we have witnessed significant changes in the epidemiology of ABM. The most important change is the dramatic decline of incidence of meningitis due to Haemophilus influenzae serotype b (Hib) due to infant vaccination [1,2], and the striking decrease of early-onset disease caused by group B Streptococcus because of use of intra-partum antibiotic prophylaxis [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background We conducted a prospective, observational study in Barcelona to determine the epidemiology, clinical features, and outcome of elderly patients with acute bacterial meningitis (ABM) compared with younger adults. Methods During 1982–2010, all patients with ABM were prospectively evaluated. There were two groups: I (15–64 years) and II (≥ 65 years). All patients underwent clinical examination on admission and at discharge following a predefined protocol. Results We evaluated 635 episodes of ABM. The incidence was 4.03/100,000 (Group I) and 7.40 /100,000 inhabitants/year (Group II) (RR = 1.84; 95%CI: 1.56–2.17, P < 0.0001). Elderly patients had co-morbid conditions more frequently (P < 0.0001) and more frequently lacked fever (P = 0.0625), neck stiffness (P < 0.0001) and skin rash (P < 0.0001), but had an altered level of consciousness more often (P < 0.0001). The interval admission-start of antibiotic therapy was longer for elderly patients (P < 0.0001). Meningococcal meningitis was less frequent in elderly patients (P < 0.0001), whereas listerial (P = 0.0196), gram-negative bacillary (P = 0.0065), and meningitis of unknown origin (P = 0.0076) were more frequent. Elderly patients had a higher number of neurologic (P = 0.0009) and extra-neurologic complications (P < 0.0001). The overall mortality ratio was higher in elderly patients (P < 0.0001). Conclusions Elderly people are at higher risk of having ABM than younger adults. ABM in the elderly presents with co-morbid conditions, is clinically subtler, has a longer interval admission-antibiotic therapy, and has non-meningococcal etiology. It is associated with an earlier and higher mortality rate than in younger patients.
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