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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


MANTESE, Orlando C. et al. Etiological profile of bacterial meningitis in children. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2002, vol.78, n.6, pp.467-474. ISSN 0021-7557.

Objective: To determine the etiologic profile and analyze some epidemiological aspects of children with bacterial meningitis admitted to a public teaching hospital. Methods: A prospective study was conducted on children with clinical and laboratory diagnosis of bacterial meningitis, admitted to Hospital das Clínicas da Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, from January 1987 to January 2001. Patients with meningitis associated with trauma, intracranial devices or malformations of the neural tube, and tuberculosis, were not included in the study. Results: From a total of 415 children with bacterial meningitis, the etiologic agent was detected in 315 (75.9%): Haemophilus influenzae b in 54.2%, meningococci in 20.6%, pneumococci in 18.1% and other agents, in 6.9%. Previous antibiotic treatment, observed in 47.2% of the cases, led to a significant decrease in positive blood cultures (from 50.8% to 38.7%) and in cerebrospinal fluid cultures (from 71.7% to 57.6%). Among children younger than 48 months Haemophilus influenzae b was predominant, particularly when compared to meningococci. The overall mortality was 10.1%, with a significant difference between the rates of pneumococcal (17.5%) and meningococcal meningitis (4.6%). Conclusions: Children affected by Haemophilus influenzae b and by pneumococci were younger than those with meningitis caused by meningococci. The blood and/or cerebrospinal fluid culture remains an important laboratory tool for etiologic diagnosis, despite the negative impact caused by antibiotic previous treatment. The agents most commonly detected were Haemophilus influenzae b, meningococci and pneumococci. Bacterial meningitis continues to present an important mortality among children, particularly when caused by pneumococci.

Keywords : bacterial meningitis; children; etiology.

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