How does age affect risk of meningitis from specific etiologic agents?

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

Depending on their age, individuals are also predisposed to meningitis from other etiologic agents (see Table 4 below). E coli K1 meningitis and S agalactiae meningitis are common among neonates, and L monocytogenes meningitis is common among neonates and the elderly. (The development of neonatal meningitis is related to labor and delivery; it results from colonized pathogens in the maternal intestinal or genital tract, immaturity, and environment.)

Table 4. Most Common Bacterial Pathogens on Basis of Age and Predisposing Risks (Open Table in a new window)

Risk or Predisposing Factor

Bacterial Pathogen

Age 0-4 weeks

Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS)

Escherichia coli K1

Listeria monocytogenes

Age 4-12 weeks

S agalactiae

E coli

Haemophilus influenzae

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Neisseria meningitidis

Age 3 months to 18 years

N meningitidis

S pneumoniae

H influenzae

Age 18-50 years

S pneumoniae

N meningitidis

H influenzae

Age >50 years

S pneumoniae

N meningitidis

L monocytogenes

Aerobic gram-negative bacilli

Immunocompromised state

S pneumoniae

N meningitidis

L monocytogenes

Aerobic gram-negative bacilli

Intracranial manipulation, including neurosurgery

Staphylococcus aureus

Coagulase-negative staphylococci

Aerobic gram-negative bacilli, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Basilar skull fracture

S pneumoniae

H influenzae

Group A streptococci

CSF shunts

Coagulase-negative staphylococci

S aureus

Aerobic gram-negative bacilli

Propionibacterium acnes

CSF = cerebrospinal fluid; GBS = group B streptococcus.


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