Meningitis for healthcare providers

Key points about meningitis

  • This page contains information about meningitis for healthcare providers.
  • Find information on clinical updates, clinical resources and CPD.
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Messaging for healthcare professionals on meningococcal disease (August 2019)

  • There has been a significant increase in Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W (MenW) in New Zealand since mid-2017.
  • This particular strain of MenW affects all age groups and is associated with a high case-fatality rate.
  • The Ministry of Health is requesting that healthcare professionals remain alert to the symptoms of meningococcal disease as early intervention is essential.
  • MenW can present with the classical signs of meningococcal disease but also atypically with gastro-intestinal symptoms, as well as pneumonia, septic arthritis, endocarditis or epi/supraglottitis.
  • Antibiotics should be administered on suspicion of diagnosis. This includes treating the patient before transferring to hospital.
  • Ceftriaxone is the preferred first-line treatment for all individuals.

Read more: Messaging for healthcare professionals on meningococcal disease(external link).

The following information is taken from a research review educational series.

  • Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection caused by Neisseria meningitidis. The most common manifestations are meningitis and septicaemia.
  • Meningococcal disease has a case-fatality rate of up to 10% in developed countries, even with rapid treatment.
  • The disease can easily be misdiagnosed and death can occur within 24 hours.
  • All age groups are susceptible to meningococcal disease, however infants are much more likely to be infected compared with the general population.
  • Up to 20% of survivors of meningococcal disease have permanent sequelae, including brain damage, hearing loss and limb amputation.
  • At least 13 different strains of N. meningitidis have been identified, with serogroups A, B, C, X, W and Y most likely to cause disease.
  • In New Zealand, group B strains are the most prevalent, although isolated outbreaks of groups A and C have occurred, and an increase in group W disease has recently been noted.
Read more: Group B meningococcal disease in New Zealand(external link).

eTool – improving the recognition, diagnosis and management of bacterial meningitis in young infants(external link) Meningitis Research Foundation, UK


Video: PHARMAC seminar: Common infections, 4: Meningitis, acne & cellulitis by Dr Arlo Upton and Prof. Bruce Arroll

(PHARMAC Seminar, NZ, 2018) 

Credits: Healthify editorial team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

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