Objectives: Spanish hospital surveillance system was analyzed to estimate the burden of hospital admissions for meningococcal infection in Spain during a nine-year period (1997-2005).
Methods: Data were obtained from the national surveillance system for hospital data (Conjunto Mínimo Básico de Datos) maintained by the Ministry of Health and covering more than 95% of Spanish hospitals.
Results: There were 9480 hospital admissions for meningococcal infection (ICD 9 CM 036; any listed diagnosis) during the study period. Annual incidence was 2.66 cases per 100,000 population. Rate of death and case-fatality rate were 0.17 per 100,000 population and 6.45%, respectively. The average length of hospitalization was 11.2 days. Youngest age group showed the highest incidence and rate of death (43.15 and 1.17 per 100,000 population respectively in 0-4 years old group), but case-fatality rate was higher in the oldest group (12.16%; more than 30 years old group). The cost of acute hospital care is estimated to be on average 4470 euro per case, which imposes an annual direct cost of 3-5 million euro to the Spanish health system.
Conclusions: Meningococcal infection is still an important cause of hospital admissions in Spain and results in large cost to the Health Care System.