Mortality and more severe morbidity due to bacterial
meningitis increase when the diagnosis is
Although the prognosis is improving, bacterial
meningitis in childhood still causes significant
mortality and morbidity.
There are several distinct potential strategies for
prevention of bacterial meningitis. Three of the
most important in the context of specific target
diseases are: i) modification of behavioral risk
factors; ii) chemoprophylaxis; and iii) immunization.
It is important to note, however, that for most
bacterial meningitis, the behavioral and socioeconomic
risk factors which have been identified
are difficult to modify on a large scale, thus the
impact of these strategies has not been major.
Among infectious diseases which continue to
plague children in both industrialized and developing
countries, bacterial meningitis
Despite effective antibacterial therapy bacterial
meningitis remains one of the most serious infectious
diseases in childhood.
Approximately 5 million children die each year of diseases that are preventable by existing vaccines.
Among the most tragic deaths are those due to preventable causes of bacterial meningitis. Drs Anne
Schuchat and Jay D Wenger capture the challenge of bacterial meningitis well in the opening paragraph
of this issue of Annales Nestle.