Which preventive measures have decreased the incidence of pediatric bacterial meningitis in the US?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The number of cases of invasive H influenzae disease among children younger than 5 years that were reported to the CDC declined from 20,000 in 1987 to 255 in 1998. This shift has reportedly been less dramatic in developing countries, where the use of Hib vaccine is not as widespread.

Because the frequency of bacterial meningitis in children has declined, the condition is becoming more of a disease of adults. Whereas the median age for persons with bacterial meningitis was 25 years in 1998, it was 15 months in 1986. [11]

The introduction of vaccines against S pneumoniae has substantially reduced the incidence of pneumococcal meningitis in children. Routine screening for GBS in pregnant women may have also reduced the incidence of meningitis from this pathogen. Routine vaccination against serogroup C meningococcus may also reduce the incidence of N meningitidis infections. During a 1998-2007 survey, the incidence of meningitis declined by 31%, [5] a decrease that can be credited to vaccination programs.


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