We recorded and analyzed the growth data of 40 children with acute meningitis (age 5.8 +/– 3.1 years) for a year or more after treatment and compared them with their age and sex matched healthy siblings (n=100). None of the patients had meningitis sequelae that could affect linear growth. None of them had underweight and/or stunting for one year or more after treatment. No difference in dietary intake between patients and controls. The height standard deviation scores (HtSDS) of patients decreased significantly from –0.06 +/– 0.95 at the onset of meningitis to –0.46 +/– 1 after > 1 year of follow-up and were significantly lower than those for their normal siblings (0.31 +/− 0.5). Fifteen out of the 40 patients had decreased HtSDS > –0.5, while 3 had decreased HtSDS > –1 after > 1 year of follow-up. The BMI of patients significantly increased after 1 year or more of the acute attack but did not differ from the BMI for the controls. One patient and none of the controls had BMISDS > 2 at presentation. 5/40 patients and 2/100 children from the control group had BMISDS > 2 after 1 year or more of follow-up. The HtSDS decreased and BMI increased significantly in both groups with septic (n=10) and aseptic meningitis (n=30) with no significant difference among the 2 groups.
In conclusion, long term growth delay and overweight appear to be risk factors following an acute attack of both septic and aseptic meningitis.