What are the cognitive and behavioral disturbances due to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis?

Updated: Jul 09, 2018
  • Author: Prateek Lohia, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Cognitive and behavioral disturbances are found in as many as 40% of children who have had Hib meningitis. Many studies have been undertaken to evaluate cognitive impairment after meningitis. When compared with siblings closest in age, children who have had meningitis have lower average full-scale intelligence quotients (IQs). The magnitude of difference is greater than one standard deviation in 30% of cases. In one such study, 28% of patients were found to have significant handicaps, including 11% with mental retardation.

In addition, a wide range of neurologic and learning disabilities is found in a large percentage of survivors who are successfully treated with antibiotics and subsequently considered to be normal by parents, teachers, and peers.

However, more recent studies have not demonstrated large differences in intellectual outcomes. No difference was detected in the IQ between index cases and nearest-age siblings. Differences that were significant were mild and of questionable clinical significance.

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