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PLoS One. 2007 Aug 1;2(7):e674.

Aseptic meningitis in children: analysis of 506 cases.

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  • 1First Department of Pediatrics, Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital, Athens University, Athens, Greece.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Non-polio human enteroviruses are the leading cause of aseptic meningitis in children. The role of enterovirus PCR for diagnosis and management of aseptic meningitis has not been fully explored.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

A retrospective study was conducted to determine the epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory characteristics of aseptic meningitis and to evaluate the role of enterovirus PCR for the diagnosis and management of this clinical entity. The medical records of children who had as discharge diagnosis aseptic or viral meningitis were reviewed. A total of 506 children, median age 5 years, were identified. The annual incidence rate was estimated to be 17/100,000 children less than 14 years of age. Most of the cases occurred during summer (38%) and autumn (24%). The dominant clinical symptoms were fever (98%), headache (94%) and vomiting (67%). Neck stiffness was noted in 60%, and irritation in 46% of the patients. The median number of CSF cell count was 201/mm(3) with polymorphonuclear predominance (>50%) in 58.3% of the cases. Enterovirus RNA was detected in CSF in 47 of 96 (48.9%) children tested. Children with positive enterovirus PCR had shorter hospitalization stay as compared to children who had negative PCR or to children who were not tested (P = 0.01). There were no serious complications or deaths.

CONCLUSIONS:

Enteroviruses accounted for approximately one half of cases of aseptic meningitis. PCR may reduce the length of hospitalization and plays important role in the diagnosis and management of children with aseptic meningitis.

PMID:
17668054
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1933255
Free PMC Article
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