Bacterial meningitis in children

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2005 Jun;52(3):795-810, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2005.02.011.


Microbiologic causes of meningitis include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Before routine use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, bacterial meningitis affected almost 6000 people every year in the United States, and about half of all cases occurred in children 18 years old or younger. Prompt and accurate diagnosis and adequate treatment of bacterial meningitis in children remains a major challenge, as reflected by the continued high morbidity and case-fatality rates of the disease worldwide. Appropriate use of antibiotics, along with adjunctive therapies, such dexamethasone, has proved helpful in the prevention of neurologic sequelae in children with bacterial meningitis. Better understanding of pathophysiologic mechanisms likely would result in more effective therapies in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chemoprevention
  • Child
  • Child Welfare* / statistics & numerical data
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / etiology
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / therapy
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Morbidity
  • Patient Selection
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaccination / methods


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Dexamethasone