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Bacterial Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis affects 1 in 500 children younger than 2 years. Meningitis most commonly presents with subtle signs and symptoms that may easily be mistaken for a benign childhood illness meningitis.

Etiology of Bacterial Meningitis

Neonatal Meningitis. Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus) and Escherichia coli cause three fourths of all infections in the neonate. Prematurity is the greatest risk factor for infection in neonates.


In infants, Haemophilus influenzae is the most common bacterium causing meningitis. The widespread use of H. influenzae type B (HiB) conjugate vaccines has decreased the incidence of HiB meningitis by 95%.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the second most common cause of meningitis in infancy.

Neisseria meningitidis has the highest attack rate in children younger than 2 years. Most often the infant is feverish, lethargic, and  palpable petechiae.

Bacterial Meningitis

Childhood. The frequency of meningitis decreases markedly in children older than 2 years, and it remains at a relatively constant level until adulthood. Etiologies include H influenzae, S pneumoniae, and N meningitidis.

Bacterial Meningitis

Treatment of Bacterial Meningitis