The Burden of Pediatric Invasive Meningococcal Disease in Spain (2008–2013)

Rivero-Calle, I. et al. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: April 2016. Volume 35 (Issue 4) pp. 407–413
Image source: Dr Mike Sobanski – Wellcome Image // CC by-nc-nd 4.0

Image shows Ultrasonic meningitis test – positive sample. A positive test result for meningitis using the
ultrasound enhanced diagnostic test for
Meningococcal disease.

Methods: Retrospective review of all children younger than 15 years admitted to any of the 36 hospitals in the MENDICOS Spanish network ( with confirmed or probable invasive meningococcal disease in children between January 2008 and December 2013.

Results: A total of 458 cases were identified across the country, most of them occurring in previously healthy children (91.5%; n = 419/458). Median (interquartile range) age was 1.7 (0.7 and 4.6) years, with 53.1% of the cases occurring in children younger than 2 years; 82.1% (n = 368) were laboratory confirmed cases; 95.2% (n = 256) of those serogrouped were serogroup B. The diagnosis was meningitis in 24.9% (n = 114) of the cases, sepsis in 37.1% (n = 170) and both in 38.0% (n = 174). Mean hospital length of stay was 11.6 (10.9) days; 79.2% (n = 354) of the patients required pediatric intensive care unit admission, with a mean pediatric intensive care unit stay of 3.9 (4.9) days; 3.5% (n = 16) died; 12.9% (n = 59) of the survivors were discharged with some kind of physical sequelae, mainly neurological (n = 23).

Conclusions: Serogroup B invasive meningococcal infection explains substantial morbidity and mortality in Spain, occurring mainly in infants. The recent availability of a vaccine against serogroup B may change this scenario. Given that the vast majority of the cases occur in otherwise healthy children, inclusion of the meningococcal B vaccine in the national immunization program should be carefully considered.

Read the abstract here


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