Clinical presentation of meningococcal disease in childhood

C. Sabatini, S. Bosis, M. Semino, L. Senatore, N. Principi, S. Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although relatively rare, meningococcal disease represents a global health problem being still the leading infectious cause of death in childhood with an overall mortality around 8%. Meningococcal meningitis is the most commonly recognized presentation, accounting for 80% to 85% of all reported cases of meningococcal disease (in half of these cases sepsis is also present concomitantly). The remaining 15-20% of cases are most commonly bloodstream infections only. Meningococcal serogroups A, B, and C account for most cases of meningococcal disease throughout the world. Recently, serogroups W-135 and X (predominantly in Africa) and group Y (in the United States and European countries) have emerged as important disease-causing isolates. Despite recent advances in medical management, the mortality rate of fulminant meningococcemia ranges from 15% to 30%. However, among survivors, 10-30% could have long term sequelae (i.e. sensoneural hearing loss, seizure, motor problems, hydrocephalus, mental retardation, and cognitive and behavioral problems). Considering the clinical severity of meningococcal disease, prevention represents the first approach for avoiding serious complications and possible deaths. The availability of new vaccines able to cover the emerging serotypes including A and Y as well as the availability on the market of new products that could prevent meningococcal B infection represent a great opportunity for the decrease of the burden of this complicated disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Meningitis
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Neisseria meningitidis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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