Objective: To describe the psychiatric status of child survivors of meningococcal disease and their mothers.
Design and setting: Home interviews with 3-12 month follow-up.PATIENTS. 29 children aged 2-15 years admitted to a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with meningococcal disease.
Measurements and results: Questionnaires to assess psychiatric risk in children and parents. We found an overall risk for child psychiatric disorder in 20%. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were present in 62% of children, and 10% had the features of a stress disorder. In 40% of mothers there was an increased risk for psychiatric disorder, 48% experienced clinically significant PTSD symptoms, and 29% were seeking psychological help. Maternal stress symptoms were significantly associated with severity of their child's illness.
Conclusions: A significant proportion of children surviving meningococcal disease and their parents are likely to suffer psychological stress symptoms to a degree that warrants attention.