Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Microbiol Infect. 2000 May;6(5):259-62.

Increasing microbiological confirmation and changing epidemiology of meningococcal disease on Merseyside, England.

Author information

Institute of Child Health, Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust, Liverpool, UK.



To determine, for the last 5 years in children on Merseyside with clinical meningococcal disease (MCD), the impact on diagnostic yield of newer bacteriologic methods; bacterial antigen detection (AD) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR).


Prospective data collection at Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital over two epochs: 1 September 1992 to 30 April 1994 (epoch A, n = 126) and 17 November 1997 to 15 September 1998 (epoch B, n = 85).


Epoch A was compared with epoch B. Diagnosis was confirmed by detection of meningococci in 78 of 126 (61.9%) versus 64 of 85 (75.3%, P = 0.04), but with a significantly lower rate of positive blood and cerebrospinal fluid culture in the later epoch. The proportion of cases receiving penicillin pretreatment was unchanged at 32%, but the proportion undergoing lumbar puncture decreased significantly. Median ages were higher in epoch B: 1.7 years versus 2.49 years (P = 0.013, Mann-Whitney). There was a significant increase in the proportion of cases due to serogroup C (14/78 (18%) versus 30/64 (46.9%), P = 0.001).


Culture detection of meningococci from children with MCD has reduced, as less lumbar punctures are done. However, improved diagnosis by PCR and AD has increased microbiological confirmation overall. Serogroup C disease and the median age of cases continue to rise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center