Mortality and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Acute Bacterial Meningitis in Children Aged <5 Years in Pakistan

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ObjectiveSignificant neurodevelopmental sequelae are known to occur after acute bacterial meningitis (ABM). This study determined the burden of such sequelae in Pakistani children aged <5 years to guide policies for Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and pneumococcal vaccination.Study designCases of ABM were recruited from hospital-based surveillance and assigned to 1 of 3 etiologic groups (Hib, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or unknown etiology). Two age-matched controls were recruited for each case. Six months after enrollment, each case underwent neurologic history and examination, neurodevelopmental evaluation, and neurophysiological hearing test. Controls were assessed in parallel.ResultsOf 188 cases, 64 (34%) died. Mortality among subgroups were 7 (27%), 14 (28%), and 43 (39%) for Hib, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and unknown etiology, respectively. Eighty cases and 160 controls completed the assessments. Sequelae among cases included developmental delay (37%), motor deficit (31%), hearing impairment (18.5%), epilepsy (14%), and vision impairment (14%). Sequelae were higher after pneumococcal meningitis (19, 73%) compared with Hib meningitis (8, 53%). Compared with controls, cases were at significantly higher risk for all sequelae (P < .0001).ConclusionsABM causes a substantial long-term burden of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. Hib and pneumococcal vaccines are very effective interventions to prevent meningitis and its disabling sequelae.

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