Profile of acute bacterial meningitis in children aged between 1 and 59 months admitted to the paediatric wards at the UTH, Lusaka
Kabamba, Jean D.B
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A hospital based descriptive, prospective study on the profile of acute bacterial meningitis in children aged between 1 and 59 months admitted to the paediatric wards at the UTH, Lusaka was carried out in the Department of Paediatrics and Child health, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka from 1 st April 2002 to 31 st December 2002 (9 months). The objectives of the study were to determine the prevalence of acute bacterial meningitis, the social status of affected children, the clinical features, the common causative pathogens and their antibiotic sensitivity, and finally, to document Immediate complications. Out of 210 children admitted with a provisional diagnosis of acute bacterial meningitis, only 92 were eligible for the study. It was found that socioeconomic and demographic factors have a bearing on the incidence of acute bacterial meningitis in children who, most of them, lived in highly populated areas and overcrowded families (average family size: 6.2 persons) without adequate sanitation (61.5%) and source of clean water (81.3%). There was no sexual predilection, with the male to female ratio of 1.1: 1. Four in five patients admitted with acute bacterial meningitis had received an antibiotic before being referred to UTH, with penicillin being the most administered antimicrobial. The mean duration of illness prior to admission was 6.2 days with 85% of patients having been admitted within the first one week of illness. The commonest presenting complaints were body hotness (96.7%), neck stiffness (69.6%), excessive crying (59.8%), fits (56.5%) and bulging of anterior fontanel (42%).
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