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meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours!

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Five year follow-up of a national cohort of children who suffered from meningitis during the neonatal period

  • Researchers:
    Dr John de Louvois, Mrs Susan Halket, Professor David Harvey
  • Start Date:
    01 January 2001
  • Category:
  • Location:
    Imperial College School of Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK

The aim of the study is to determine the level of disability, at five years of age, among 256 children in England and Wales who survived neonatal meningitis during 1996-7, and to compare the results with those from two groups of matched controls. For each index case one control, matched for age and sex, will be drawn from the same General Practitioner list as the index case. The other control will have been in the neonatal unit at the same time as the index case and will be matched for gestational age, sex and postnatal age. The questionnaires to be used in this study are essentially the same as those used previously, thus allowing comparisons to be drawn with the results on neonates in the 1985-7 study. In the previous study there was, on average, a 90% response rate from both parents and GPs of index and control cases. Acute phase mortality from neonatal meningitis in the 1995-7 study was 19.8%; in the 1996-7 study it was 6.8%. 2% of survivors from the 1985-7 study died before their fifth birthday. Among neonates in the earlier study, 25.5% had severe/moderate disability aged five, compared to 1.4% of matched controls. In 1985-7 treatment was based on chloramphenicol, in 1996-7 cefotaxime was the antibiotic of choice. This study provides a unique opportunity to determine the effects of changes in treatment and the increasing proportion of premature babies on the number of late deaths and on the disability associated with meningitis in neonates.

Read our news releases about this project:

Meningitis and poor GCSE results - research identifies link

Serious disabilities of meningitis remain alarmingly high

Results from this study have been published in scientific journals as follows:

de Louvois J, Halket S, Harvey D.
Neonatal meningitis in England and Wales: sequelae at 5 years of age.
Eur J Pediatr 2005 Dec;164(12):730-4.

de Louvois J, Harvey D, Halket S.
The effect of meningitis in infancy on school-leaving examination results.
Arch Dis Child. 2007 Mar 22; [Epub ahead of print].

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