, Volume 68, Issue 9, pp 839-841

Childhood bacterial meningitis in Pondicherry, South India

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Abstract

Objective: To identify causative bacteria from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of children with miningits and analyse various clinical and laboratory parameters.Methods: Over a 20 month period, September 1994 to April 1996, one hundred episodes of acute bacterial meningitis in children aged 1 month–12 years were studied in a tertiary urban hospital in South India. Organisms were isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in 35% of cases. Among infants and children, the two major pathogens wereH. influenzae (17%) andS.pneumoniae (12%).Results: The illness at presentation was mild in 13% and severe in 36% of cases. The association of subdural effusion in children with Salmonella Gp B meningitis merits attention. The overall case fatality rate was 25%.S.pneumoniae had a higher case fatality rate than Salmonella Gp B andH.influenzae (50% vs 17% vs 12%). All the three infants below 3 months of age withS.pneumoniae meningitis died. On analysis of selected clinical and laboratory features by discriminant analysis, CSF culture was the significant (P=0.02) variable in relation to outcome. In pneumococcal meningitis, CSF WBC count was a highly significant variable in relation to outcome (Wilk’s Lambda 0.15, F=24.64, P=0.0002).Conclusion: Prevention of infections due toH.influenzae andS.pneumoniae should be given higher priority.