, Volume 173, Issue 7, pp 871-878
Date: 14 Jan 2014

The burden of pneumococcal meningitis in Austrian children between 2001 and 2008

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The present study was conducted to evaluate the burden of pneumococcal meningitis in Austrian children between 2001 and 2008. Clinical outcome was retrospectively analyzed both on discharge and on follow-up investigations. This study was based on a prospective multicentre surveillance study on hospitalized invasive pneumococcal infections in Austrian children with a total annual “study population” of about 399,000 children aged below 5 years per year. Between 2001 and 2008, 74 cases of pneumococcal meningitis were identified in children aged below 5 years. The mean annual incidence rate for pneumococcal meningitis was 2.3 per 100,000 children in this age group. In 57/74 children (mean age on admission 14.5 ± 13.3 months), outcome data on hospital discharge were available: 5 deaths (8.8 %), 20 children (35.1 %) with sequelae and 32 children (56.1 %) without sequelae were observed. Sequelae on discharge included motor impairment in 8 children (14.0 %), hearing impairment in 9 children (15.8 %) and/or other complications in 14 children (24.6 %). In 7/8 children with motor deficits, matching cerebral lesions were identified by neuroimaging: cerebral infarction in five children, cerebral vasculitis and cerebral abscess in one child each. In 40/57 children, long-term outcome (18.9 ± 20.2 months after discharge) could be assessed: 1 child (2.5 %) died 9 months after hospital discharge, 11 children (27.5 %) had one or two long-term sequelae and 28 children (70.0 %) had no sequelae. Long-term sequelae included motor impairment in three children (7.5 %), hearing impairment in nine children (22.5 %) and other deficits in two children (5.0 %). Conclusion: Our study confirms that pneumococcal meningitis causes high mortality and severe long-term sequelae. On long-term follow-up, we observed improvements of motor impairment, but not of hearing impairment.

Communicated by Prof. D. Nadal