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Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2013 Jun;15(3):236-41. doi: 10.1007/s11908-013-0332-6.

Long-term sequelae of childhood bacterial meningitis.

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  • 1University College London Hospital, London, UK,


In most high-income countries, fewer children now acquire meningitis, and many of those who do will survive. Globally, however, meningitis still remains a significant cause of child morbidity and mortality. In this article, the authors review recent evidence on the morbidity faced by childhood survivors of bacterial meningitis. Outcomes vary by bacterial pathogen, with around a 20 % risk for severe sequelae (most commonly, neurocognitive) by all pathogenic causes. Pneumococcal, tuberculosis, and group B streptococcal meningitis lead to the highest rates of sequelae. Recent epidemiological shifts in the major pathogens causing meningitis, as well as varied regional settings between studies, limit generalizability of evidence in the literature, and better research using longitudinal data and case-control methodology is required, especially in low-income countries. However, the consistently high levels of complications described in the literature call for more widespread vaccination programs for prevention and a greater focus on potential complications by educators and health-care providers to support childhood survivors of bacterial meningitis and their families.

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