Prognostic scores for use in African meningococcal epidemics

Bull World Health Organ. 1998;76(2):149-52.


Current WHO guidelines for the case management of meningococcal infections during epidemics in developing countries often cannot be applied, largely because of the limited health resources in such countries. Several scoring scales based on clinical and laboratory features in numerous combinations have been developed for the management of meningococcal infections in developed countries, and these have facilitated early identification of patients with fulminant disease and thus early intervention and reduction in mortality. Unfortunately such scoring scales are not appropriate for use in developing countries. We identified hypotension, tachycardia, tachypnoea, delay in capillary refill time, coma, absence of neck stiffness and petechiae and/or purpura as simple prognostic factors of meningococcal disease. Two scores were developed: score I, which includes all seven prognostic factors, had a sensitivity and specificity of 80% and 94%, respectively. Score II, which excluded hypotension, had a sensitivity and specificity of 73.3% and 89.7%, respectively. Quick and simple scoring scales are therefore not only applicable but useful for the case management of patients in meningococcal epidemics in developing countries.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case Management / organization & administration
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / diagnosis*
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / drug therapy
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index*