Journal Article

Meningococcal Disease among Children Who Live in a Large Metropolitan Area, 1981–1996

Vincent J. Wang, Nathan Kuppermann, Richard Malley, Elizabeth D. Barnett, H. Cody Meissner, Emmett V. Schmidt and Gary R. Fleisher

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 32, issue 7, pages 1004-1009
Published in print April 2001 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2001 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/319595
Meningococcal Disease among Children Who Live in a Large Metropolitan Area, 1981–1996

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Neisseria meningitidis is an important cause of serious bacterial infections in children. We undertook a study to identify meningococcal infections of the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or both of children in a defined geographic area to describe the burden of disease and the spectrum of illness. We reviewed the medical records of all children aged <18 years who had meningococcal infections at the 4 pediatric referral hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts, from 1981 through 1996. We identified 231 patients with meningococcal disease; of these 231 patients, 194 (84%) had overt disease and 37 (16%) had unsuspected disease. Clinical manifestations included meningitis in 150 patients, hypotension in 26, and purpura in 17. Sixteen patients (7%) died. Although meningococcal disease is devastating to a small number of children, we found that the burden of pediatric disease that it caused at the 4 pediatric referral centers in this geographic region was limited; that patients with overt meningococcal disease are most likely to have meningitis; and that individual practitioners are unlikely to encounter a patient with unsuspected meningococcal disease.

Journal Article.  3517 words.  Illustrated.

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

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