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Trends in Laboratory-Confirmed Bacterial Meningitis (2012-2019): National Observational Study, England
21 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2021More...
Background: Bacterial meningitis is associated with significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. We aimed to describe the epidemiology, aetiology, trends over time and outcomes of laboratory-confirmed bacterial meningitis in England during 2012-2019.
Methods: Public Health England routinely receives electronic notifications of confirmed infections from National Health Service hospital laboratories in England. Data were extracted for positive bacterial cultures, PCR-positive results for Neisseria meningitidis or Streptococcus pneumoniae from cerebrospinal fluid and positive blood cultures in patients with clinical meningitis.
Findings: During 2012-19, there were 6,554 laboratory-confirmed cases. Mean annual incidence was 1.49/100,000, which remained stable throughout the surveillance period (p=0.745). There were 155 different bacterial species identified, including 68.4% (106/1550) Gram-negative and 31.6% (49/155) Gram-positive bacteria. After excluding coagulase-negative staphylococci (2481/6554, 37.9%), the main pathogens causing meningitis were Streptococcus pneumoniae (811/4073, 19.9%), Neisseria meningitidis (497/4073, 12.2%), Staphylococcus aureus (467/4073, 11.5%), Escherichia coli (314/4073, 7.7%) and Group B Streptococcus (268/4073, 6.6%). Pneumococcal meningitis incidence increased significantly during 2012-9, while meningococcal, group A streptococcal and tuberculous meningitis declined. Infants aged <3 months had the highest mean incidence (55.6/100,000; 95%CI, 47.7-63.5) driven mainly by group B streptococci, followed by 3-11 month-olds (8.1/100,000; 95%CI 7.1-9.0), where pneumococcal and meningitis predominated. The 30-day case-fatality rate (CFR) was 10.0% (71/6554). Group A streptococcal meningitis had the highest CFR (47/85, 55.3%). The probability of surviving at 30 days was 95.3% (95%CI, 93.4-97.3%) for infants and 80.0% for older adults (77-84%).
Interpretation: The incidence of bacterial meningitis has remained stable. The high CFR highlights a need for prevention through vaccination.
Funding Information: PHE
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Ethics Approval Statement: PHE has legal permission, provided by Regulation 3 of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002, to process patient confidential information for national surveillance of communicable diseases and as such, individual patient consent is not required.
Keywords: Bacterial meningitis, group B streptococci, meningococcal meningitis, pneumococcal meningitis, surveillance
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation