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Causes of Pediatric Meningitis in Botswana: Results From a 16-Year National Meningitis Audit.

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2019 Jun 21

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<p><strong>BACKGROUND: </strong>Central nervous system infections are an important cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in high HIV-prevalence settings of Africa. We evaluated the epidemiology of pediatric meningitis in Botswana during the rollout of antiretroviral therapy, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB) vaccine.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>We performed a cross-sectional study of children (&lt;15 years old) evaluated for meningitis by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination from 2000 to 2015, with complete national records for 2013-2014. Clinical and laboratory characteristics of microbiologically confirmed and culture-negative meningitis were described and incidence of Streptococcus pneumoniae, H. influenzae and cryptococcal meningitis was estimated for 2013-2014.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>A total of 6796 unique cases were identified. Median age was 1 year [interquartile range 0-3]; 10.4% (435/4186) of children with available HIV-related records were known HIV-infected. Overall, 30.4% (2067/6796) had abnormal CSF findings (positive microbiologic testing or CSF pleocytosis). Ten percent (651/6796) had a confirmed microbiologic diagnosis; including 26.9% (175/651) Cryptococcus, 18.9% (123/651) S. pneumoniae, 20.3% (132/651) H. influenzae and 1.1% (7/651) Mycobacterium tuberculosis. During 2013-2014, national cryptococcal meningitis incidence was 1.3 cases per 100,000 person-years (95% confidence interval, 0.8-2.1) and pneumococcal meningitis incidence 0.7 per 100,000 person-years (95% confidence interval, 0.3-1.3), with no HiB meningitis diagnosed.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>Following HiB vaccination, a marked decline in microbiologically confirmed cases of H. influenzae meningitis occurred. Cryptococcal meningitis remains the most common confirmed etiology, demonstrating gaps in prevention-of-mother-to-child transmission and early HIV diagnosis. The high proportion of abnormal CSF samples with no microbiologic diagnosis highlights limitation in available diagnostics.</p>



Alternate Title

Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J.


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