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Assessing the long term health burden of invasive meningococcal disease

We know that invasive meningococcal disease (Men B) can cause devastating immediate sequelae such as loss of extremities, severe skin and limb complications, seizures, hearing and visual loss, motor and developmental issues. What happens in the longer term? Deng L et al [J Paediatr Child Health 2021; 57: 894–902. doi:10.1111/jpc.15350] have examined the physical, psychological, and quality of life burden associated with invasive meningococcal B disease (IMD) in children. They have identified 11 children who were admitted to intensive care units of two tertiary paediatric hospitals in New South Wales, Australia. These children underwent clinical and neuropsychological assessments up to 6 years post-disease. They had a median age of 16 months (range 4–46 months) at time of disease. The median follow-up time was 50 months (range 10–67 months). Seven (63.6%) cases had one or more long-term sequelae involving permanent and evolving physical disability. Three cases had ongoing medical conditions including two with seizures and one with ataxia and hypermetropia. Five required ongoing medical and allied healthcare. Other complications identified included anxiety, speech delay, low average full-scale IQ score (median 85, IQR 89–103) and borderline memory impairment. Their conclusions were that Serogroup B IMD is associated with significant long-term morbidity and burden on the child and …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.