Mortality and neurodevelopmental outcomes of acute bacterial meningitis in children aged <5 years in Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences; Neurology; Paediatrics and Child Health; Psychiatry


Objective: Significant neurodevelopmental sequelae are known to occur after acute bacterial meningitis (ABM). This study determined the burden of such sequelae in Pakistani children aged (Hib) and pneumococcal vaccination.
Study design: Cases of ABM were recruited from hospital-based surveillance and assigned to 1 of 3 etiologic groups (Hib, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or unknown etiology). Two age-matched controls were recruited for each case. Six months after enrollment, each case underwent neurologic history and examination, neurodevelopmental evaluation, and neurophysiological hearing test. Controls were assessed in parallel.
Results: Of 188 cases, 64 (34%) died. Mortality among subgroups were 7 (27%), 14 (28%), and 43 (39%) for Hib, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and unknown etiology, respectively. Eighty cases and 160 controls completed the assessments. Sequelae among cases included developmental delay (37%), motor deficit (31%), hearing impairment (18.5%), epilepsy (14%), and vision impairment (14%). Sequelae were higher after pneumococcal meningitis (19, 73%) compared with Hib meningitis (8, 53%). Compared with controls, cases were at significantly higher risk for all sequelae (P < .0001).
Conclusions: ABM causes a substantial long-term burden of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. Hib and pneumococcal vaccines are very effective interventions to prevent meningitis and its disabling sequelae.


The Journal of Pediatrics