Meningitis in children in Fiji: etiology, epidemiology, and neurological sequelae

Biaukula, VL; Tikoduadua, L; Azzopardi, K; Seduadua, A; Temple, B; Richmond, P; Robins-Browne, R; Mulholland, EK; Russell, FM; (2012) Meningitis in children in Fiji: etiology, epidemiology, and neurological sequelae. International journal of infectious diseases, 16 (4). E289-E295. ISSN 1201-9712 DOI:

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Objectives: To describe the etiology, epidemiology, neurological sequelae, and quality of life of children aged 1 month to less than 5 years admitted with meningitis to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH), Suva, Fiji. Methods: Over a 3-year period, all eligible children with suspected meningitis admitted to CWMH had blood drawn for culture. Of these children, those for whom is was possible were tested for a four-fold rise in antibody titers to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and pneumococcal surface adhesin A (PsaA). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was taken for bacteriological culture and antigen testing. CSF was also tested by PCR for Streptococcus species, Neisseria meningitidis, Hib, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and enterovirus. Pneumococcal isolates were serotyped using multiplex-PCR reverse-line blot hybridization. Following discharge, cases underwent a neurological assessment, audiometry, and quality of life assessment (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) tool). Results: There were 70 meningitis cases. Meningitis was more common in indigenous Fijian than Indo-Fijian children. Enterovirus was the most common etiological agent and appeared to be outbreak-associated. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most common bacterial cause of meningitis with an annual incidence of 9.9 per 100 000 under 5 years old (95% confidence interval 4.9-17.7) and a case fatality rate of 36%. With the exception of deafness, neurological sequelae were more frequent in cases of bacterial meningitis than in viral meningitis (18.5% vs. 0%, p = 0.04). Quality of life at follow-up was significantly lower in patients with bacterial meningitis than in those with viral meningitis (p = 0.003) or meningitis of unknown etiology (p = 0.004). Conclusions: During the study period an outbreak of enterovirus occurred making it the most common etiological agent identified. However in the absence of this outbreak, S. pneumoniae was the most common cause of childhood meningitis in Fiji. Bacterial meningitis is associated with serious sequelae and a reduced quality of life. (C) 2012 International Society for Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Pneumococcal, Meningitis, Sequelae, Epidemiology, Etiology, Children, invasive pneumococcal disease, reverse-transcriptase-pcr, blot, hybridization assay, streptococcus-pneumoniae, bacterial-meningitis, haemophilus-influenzae, aseptic-meningitis, conjugate-vaccine, synovial, tissue, hib disease
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
PubMed ID: 22342257
Web of Science ID: 301663800013


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