Paediatric epidemiology of Pasteurella multocida meningitis in France and review of the literature
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We report on six cases of Pasteurella multocida (P. multocida) meningitis occurring between 2001 and 2011 by a French nationwide active surveillance network of paediatric bacterial meningitis (ACTIV/GPIP). The cases accounted for 0.15 % of the paediatric meningitis cases reported between 2001 and 2011 in France, all in infants <4 months old. A review of the literature allowed us to gather information on 42 other cases of P. multocida meningitis in infants <1 year old reported since 1963. Among all 48 cases, 44 % were newborns. An animal source of the infection, including 39 household dogs and cats, was suspected or identified in 42 of 48 cases. A traumatic contact between the child and a pet occurred in 8 % of cases, and a vertical transmission from mother to child during birth in 10.4 %. Most of the time, the infection resulted from non-traumatic contact between the child and the pet, through licking or sniffing. The absence of host risk factors suggests that an immature immune system is responsible, given the young age of the children. Although complications, especially neurological lesions, were not rare (37.5 %), the long-term outcome was usually good. Four infants died of meningitis. This rare disease could be prevented by reducing contact between infants and household pets, and by performing simple hygiene measures before handling babies.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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