Infectious meningitis accounts for enormous morbidity worldwide, but there is a paucity of data on its regional epidemiology in resource-constrained settings of sub-Saharan Africa. Here, we present a study on the aetiology of paediatric meningitis in central Côte d'Ivoire. Between June 2012 and December 2013, all cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples drawn at the University Teaching Hospital Bouaké were examined for the presence of bacterial and fungal pathogens. A causative agent was detected in 31 out of 833 CSF specimens (3.7%), with the most prevalent pathogens being Streptococcus pneumoniae (n=15) and Neisseria meningitidis (n=5). With the exception of neonates, these two bacteria were the most common agents in all age groups. Of note, only a single case of Haemophilus influenzae meningitis was detected. Hence, this study reports a considerable shift in the epidemiology of paediatric meningitis in central Côte d'Ivoire. Following the implementation of a nation-wide childhood vaccination programme against H. influenzae type b, this pathogen was much less frequently reported than in previous studies. The integration of specific vaccines against S. pneumoniae and N. meningitidis into the childhood vaccination programme in Côted'Ivoire holds promise to further reduce the burden due to infectious meningitis.
Keywords: Côte d’Ivoire; Diagnosis; Haemophilus influenzae; Neisseria meningitidis; Streptococcus pneumoniae.