In the Netherlands, case histories of 160 patients aged more than 1 month, with meningitis due to bacteria other than Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae were reviewed in order to look for associations between the bacteriological data and the course of disease.
The incidence of such cases was about 0·8/100000/year. Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes each accounted for about 15% of the cases. The case-fatality rate was 18·8% (Gram-negative bacteria, 25%; Gram-positives, 15%) and sequelae occurred in 13·3% of the surviving patients (14 and 13% Gram-negative and Gram-positive, respectively). Hearing loss was the most prevalent sequela (50%). Predisposing factors were present in 70% of patients (69 and 71% respectively), especially in meningitis due to enteric Gram-negative bacteria (except for salmonella) and due to staphylococci.
Surveillance is important because the incidence of meningitis due to these micro-organisms is likely to increase and because the problems in antibiotic treatment have not yet been solved.