Long-Term Sequelae Affect Childhood Meningitis Survivors

Almost 50 percent of bacterial meningitis survivors have long-term consequences

TUESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of childhood bacterial meningitis may have long-term academic and behavioral limitations, and other long-term sequelae, according to a review published in the January issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

Aruna Chandran, M.D., M.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues searched the literature for articles published between 1970 and 2010 discussing childhood bacterial meningitis. Articles referring to patients between the ages of 1 month and less than 18 years at the time of diagnosis, who were followed up for five years or more, were included.

The investigators identified 1,433 children who survived childhood bacterial meningitis, and who were evaluated for long-term sequelae. Of these children, 49.2 percent were found to have one or more long-term sequelae. The majority of long-term consequences were behavioral and/or intellectual disorders (45 percent). Other long-term consequences were hearing changes, which affected 6.7 percent, and gross neurological deficits, which affected 14.3 percent of children.

"This comprehensive review clearly demonstrates that childhood bacterial meningitis is associated with substantial long-term sequelae in survivors. As decisions are made about recommendations for use of conjugate vaccines against common etiologic agents of meningitis, the full impact of long-term sequelae should be an important consideration," the authors write.

The study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline. One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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