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Volume 37, Number 1, February 2004

Characteristics of nosocomial bacterial meningitis in children

Pei-Ching Lin, Nan-Chang Chiu, Wen-Chen Li, Hsin Chi, Chyong-Hsin Hsu, Han-Yang Hung, Hsin-An Kao, Fu-Yuan Huang
Department of Pediatrics, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei and Taipei Municipal Jen-Ai Hospital, Taipei; and Mackay Junior College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

Received: December 17, 2002    Revised: April 23, 2003    Accepted: June 17, 2003   


Corresponding author:

Dr. Nan-Chang Chiu, Department of Pediatrics, Mackay Memorial Hospital, 92, Chung Shan North Road, Section 2, Taipei, Taiwan 104, ROC. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it




Nosocomial meningitis is uncommon in children. We reviewed the medical records of all children who developed bacterial meningitis at least 72 hours after admission to Mackay Memorial Hospital for the period July 1992 through June 2000. Clinical manifestations, predisposing factors, pathogens, and outcomes were analyzed. Twenty-two cases of nosocomial meningitis were identified, comprising 9.2% (22/239) of all pediatric cases of bacterial meningitis during the study period. The male-to-female ratio was 14:8. All patients were younger than 6 months of age except for one, who was 7 years old. The mean duration between admission and onset of meningitis was 15.3 days (range, 3 to 58 days). Twenty-two organisms were isolated, including 13 Gram-negative bacteria (59%) and 9 Gram-positive bacteria (41%). The most common pathogen was Escherichia coli (5 cases), followed by Enterobacter cloacae (3), Staphylococcus aureus (3), and Chryseobacterium meningosepticum (3). Seventeen patients (77%) had concomitant bacteremia. Predisposing factors for acquisition of nosocomial meningitis included previous treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics (68%), prematurity with very low birth weight (41%), and total parenteral nutrition (32%). Two patients (9%) had previous neurosurgical intervention. Four patients (18%) died, 3 of whom were low birth weight premature infants. Nine patients (41%) had sequelae, including developmental delay, hydrocephalus, hearing impairment, and epilepsy. Neurosurgery was not a significant risk factor for the development of nosocomial meningitis, while very low birth weight played an important role. Previous intraventricular hemorrhage or hydrocephalus, prematurity with very low birth weight, infection with Gram-negative bacteria, and prior broad-spectrum antibiotic administration were associated with poor outcome.



Key words:

Bacterial meningitis, cross infection, infant



J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2004;37:35-38.