Journal Article

Burden of Meningitis and Other Severe Bacterial Infections of Children in Africa: Implications for Prevention

Heikki Peltola

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 32, issue 1, pages 64-75
Published in print January 2001 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online January 2001 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/317534
Burden of Meningitis and Other Severe Bacterial Infections of Children in Africa: Implications for Prevention

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Apart from meningococcal disease in the sub-Saharan meningitis belt, the incidence and impact of life-threatening bacterial diseases in children across Africa have not been quantified. The clinical and epidemiological data on pneumococcal, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and other forms of bacterial meningitis, as well as data on other severe bacterial infections throughout the continent were scrutinized. Pneumococci were the leading causative agents of nonepidemic meningitis and other bacteremic diseases, followed by Hib. Meningococcal diseases were less common. Mortality rates associated with pneumococcal, Hib, and meningococcal meningitis were 549 (45%) of 1211 patients, 389 (29%) of 1352 patients, and 104 (8%) of 1236 patients, respectively; sequelae occurred in 50%, 40%, and 10% of cases. At 0–4 years of age, the estimated incidences of Hib meningitis and all classic Hib diseases were 70 and 100 cases per 100,000 population per year, accounting for approximately 90,000 and 120,000 cases per year, respectively. Including older age groups and, especially, nonbacteremic Hib pneumonia in the estimates of Hib disease in Africa increased the overall numbers manifold; the numbers of pneumococcal infections were even greater. The only realistic way to combat these severe infections efficaciously would be through widespread vaccination, starting with Hib conjugates.

Journal Article.  7206 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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