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Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2012 Jun;45(3):323-8.

Bacterial meningitis and living conditions.

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Secretaria de Saúde do Estado da Bahia, Salvador, BA, Brasil.



Bacterial meningitis has great social relevance due to its ability to produce sequelae and cause death. It is most frequently found in developing countries, especially among children. Meningococcal meningitis occurs at a high frequency in populations with poor living conditions. This study describes the temporal evolution of bacterial meningitis in Salvador, Brazil, 1995-2009, and verifies the association between its spatial variation and the living conditions of the population.


This was an ecological study in which the areas of information were classified by an index of living conditions. It examined fluctuations using a trend curve, and the relationship between this index and the spatial distribution of meningitis was verified using simple linear regression.


From 1995-2009, there were 3,456 confirmed cases of bacterial meningitis in Salvador. We observed a downward trend during this period, with a yearly incidence of 9.1 cases/100,000 population and fatality of 16.7%. Children aged <5 years old and male were more affected. There was no significant spatial autocorrelation or pattern in the spatial distribution of the disease. The areas with the worst living conditions had higher fatality from meningococcal disease (β = 0.0078117, p < 0.005).


Bacterial meningitis reaches all social strata; however, areas with poor living conditions have a greater proportion of cases that progress to death. This finding reflects the difficulties for ready access and poor quality of medical care faced by these populations.

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