Follow-Up of Cases ofHaemophilus influenzaeType b Meningitis to Determine Its Long-Term Sequelae

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ObjectiveTo measure physical and neurologic impact of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis on surviving children through short- and long-term follow-up.Study designCases of Hib meningitis, diagnosed at a tertiary level pediatric hospital, were subjected to short- and long-term follow-up and compared with age, sex, and area of residence matched healthy controls. Follow-up assessments included thorough physical and neurodevelopmental assessments using a standardized protocol by a multidisciplinary team.ResultsAssessments of short-term follow-up cohort (n = 64) revealed hearing, vision, mental, and psychomotor deficits in 7.8%, 3%, 20%, and 25% of the cases, respectively. Deficits were 10%, 1.4%, 21%, and 25% in long-term follow-up cohort (n = 71), in that order. Mental and psychomotor deficits were found in 2% of the controls, none of whom had vision or hearing deficits.ConclusionsIn addition to risk of death, Hib meningitis in children causes severe disabilities in survivors. These data facilitated a comprehensive understanding of the burden of Hib meningitis, specifically in developing countries where disabled children remain incapacitated because of lack of resources and facilities. The evidence generated from this study is expected to provide a compelling argument in favor of introduction and continuation of Hib conjugate vaccine in the national immunization program for children.

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