Background: Assessments of vaccination programmes should account for several important factors, including efficacy, safety and costs of preventing and treating the disease. Because patients with invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) are managed primarily in an inpatient setting, hospital costs and outcomes are central endpoints in health economic evaluations of IMD.
Objective: The aim of the study was to estimate hospital costs, length of stay (LOS) and mortality associated with IMD among children, adolescents and young adults in the US.
Methods: The study design was a retrospective analysis of discharges from the 2006 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database. Infant (<1 year), childhood (1-10 years), adolescent (11-18 years) and young adult (19-20 years) IMD-related hospitalizations (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] code 036) were selected. Regression-adjusted costs ($US, year 2009 values), LOS and mortality risk were compared between IMD hospitalizations and demographically matched (5 : 1) controls.
Results: A weighted total of 735 IMD admissions were identified. Among children, adjusted mean LOS and cost per admission was highest for infants (9.0 days and $US36 454 among cases vs 1.9 days and $US5041 for controls; all p < 0.0001). Adjusted costs and case fatality was highest among infants with meningococcal sepsis ($US49 626 and 11.6%, respectively). Versus controls, adjusted risks of death in IMD cases were 4.6- and 10.3-fold higher, respectively, for infants and adolescents (both p < 0.05).
Conclusions: While the advent of vaccines for Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae has curtailed invasive bacterial infection rates, IMD continues to be a public health concern that presents greatly increased hospital costs, LOS and mortality risk, particularly for infants and adolescents.