After licensure of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) in the United States in 2000, the incidence of pediatric pneumococcal meningitis decreased significantly. However, cases continue to occur. It is unknown whether meningitis due to PCV7 and non-PCV7 serotypes causes similar morbidity and mortality.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of laboratory-confirmed pneumococcal meningitis among Utah children from 1997 to 2010. We reviewed medical records and obtained clinical data during the acute illness and follow-up data on neurologic sequelae.
Sixty-eight cases of meningitis were identified. PCV7 serotypes caused 64% of cases before and 25% of cases after licensure of PCV7 (P < .01). The age range was similar before and after PCV7 licensure (P = .5). The overall case fatality rate was 13% and was similar among cases caused by PCV7 and non-PCV7 serotypes (P = .7). Children with PCV7 serotypes were more likely to require mechanical ventilation (68% vs 34%; P < .01). Of all survivors, 63% had neurologic sequelae, and the proportion was similar after infection with PCV7 or non-PCV7 serotypes (P = .1). More than one-half (54%) of all children who developed pneumococcal meningitis in the PCV7 period were eligible for PCV7 and had not been immunized.
Pneumococcal meningitis continues to be associated with high mortality and morbidity; death and neurologic sequelae are common with both PCV7 and non-PCV7 serotype meningitis. The substantial burden of this disease and continued cases among unimmunized children reinforce the need for more effective immunization strategies and continued surveillance in the era of PCV13.