, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 464-474
Date: 10 Jul 2010

Meningococcal Meningitis

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Opinion statement

Meningococcal meningitis (MM) is the most common presentation of meningococcal disease and an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. When MM is associated with shock, early recognition and treatment of shock is essential. No investigation should delay starting antibiotics once the diagnosis is suspected. Corticosteroids can be started at the same time as the antibiotics or just before, but this is not a specific recommendation for MM. Low-dose steroids should be used in meningococcal disease with refractory shock. Altered blood flow, cerebral edema, and raised intracranial pressure are problems that should be considered in all patients with MM and decreased consciousness level. When mechanical ventilation is required, the target carbon dioxide level is 4.0 to 4.5 kPa, with avoidance of hypocapnia. Seizures, although not frequent, can occur in MM and require prompt treatment. Other treatments, such as mannitol and activated protein C, should be avoided. Potential new treatments requiring further investigation include neuroprotection with hypothermia or glycerol.