About 25,000 cases of bacterial meningitis occur annually in the United States. Of these, about 70% occur in children younger than 5 years old.10
The relative frequency with which each bacterial species causes meningitis is age-related:
|Group B Streptococci||++++||+||+|
|Gram-negative bacilli (E. coli)||++++||+||++|
|+ = infrequent; ++ = occasional; +++ = common; ++++ = most common|
In a large review (n = 493) of adult bacterial meningitis cases managed at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1962 to 1988, 40% of cases were nosocomial, of which 33% were caused by gram-negative bacilli.11 In the 60% of cases that were community-acquired, the most common pathogens were:
Reviewed and revised March 2004 by Steven C. Schachter, MD, epilepsy.com Editorial Board.
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