The burden and impact of severe and long-term sequelae of meningococcal disease

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2013 Jun;11(6):597-604. doi: 10.1586/eri.13.42.


This review describes current knowledge on the severity and long-term sequelae of meningococcal disease (MD) specifically. The literature databases Medline and Embase were used by combining search terms for MD and Neisseria meningitidis with terms for severity, mortality and sequelae. Case fatality for sufferers of MD remains high, typically 5-10%, despite the best medical care. Long-term sequelae in survivors may include physical, neurological, cognitive, behavioral and psychological consequences, such as hearing loss, amputations, skin scarring and neurodevelopmental deficits. A significantly lower quality of life is seen in survivors of MD compared with unaffected controls, with detrimental effects of childhood MD continuing into adulthood. MD carries a substantial risk of long-term sequelae and mortality. This should be recognized by physicians treating patients with this disease and lends support for the implementation of preventative measures such as vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amputation
  • Child
  • Cicatrix / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Meningococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Meningococcal Infections / mortality
  • Meningococcal Infections / physiopathology*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / pathogenicity*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / physiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survivors
  • Time Factors