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Vaccine. 2007 Sep 3;25 Suppl 1:A24-9. Epub 2007 May 7.

Case-fatality ratio of bacterial meningitis in the African meningitis belt: we can do better.

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Centre de Recherche M├ędicale et Sanitaire (CERMES), BP 10887, Niamey, Niger.


In the African meningitis belt, reported case-fatality ratio (CFR) for meningitis are usually calculated on the basis of presumed cases. We reviewed 3509 presumed cases of bacterial meningitis reported in Niger for which a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sample had been tested later at the reference laboratory. The main aetiologies were Neisseria meningitidis (1496 cases), Streptococcus pneumoniae (303 cases) and Haemophilus influenzae (105 cases). The CFR of meningococcal meningitis was lower for serogroup A (5.5%) than for serogroups X (12%) and W135 (12.7%). With a CFR of 49.8%, pneumococcal meningitis, albeit representing only 20.7% of confirmed cases, accounted for 50% of the deaths. The disease burden of pneumococcal meningitis must be better taken into consideration in the future. As most treatments are presumptive, there is a urgent need for an easy-to-administer, cheap first-line treatment effective on N. meningitidis as well as on S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae that would replace the single-dose oily chloramphenicol treatment which is the most frequent treatment administered today, independent of microbial aetiology and season. The development of diagnostic tools really suitable for remote health facilities also is an urgent challenge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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