Bacterial meningitis in the pediatric population: paradigm shifts and ramifications for otolaryngology-head and neck surgery

John P. Bent, Richard A. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Various population-based studies have suggested that the incidence and epidemiology of bacterial meningitis is changing. No studies have been published which examine a sample population of the United States at large. Records of pediatric patients age 5 and under who were treated for bacterial meningitis (n = 470) at all US Army medical facilities between 1986 and 1991 were reviewed. The incidence of bacterial meningitis declined by 75% in the study group during this period. The largest decrease occurred in infants less than 1 year of age. The bacterial organisms isolated most commonly, in decreasing frequency were: Haemophilus influenza type b (HIB), pneumococcal, streptococcal, and staphylococcal. The most dramatic abatement occurred in Haemophilus meningitis following the introduction of HIB vaccinations. Neurologic sequelae were identified in 10% of meningitis survivors. The 2 most common impairments were hearing loss and speech/language delay. Economic modeling demonstrates tremendous savings in health care dollars from the decrease in disease incidence. These changes will have substantial bearing on training programs and practitioners, since the management of neurologic sequelae requires the expertise of multiple subspecialists. In the face of a medical onslaught, once devastating diseases are in retreat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes



  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Haemophilus influenza Type b vaccine
  • Pediatric meningitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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