Prevention of bacterial meningitis: An overview of Cochrane systematic reviews

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Acute bacterial meningitis (ABM) is an acute inflammation of leptomeninges caused by bacteria, and has a case fatality rate of 10-30%. Prevention strategies, such as vaccination and prophylactic antibiotics, can prevent ABM and have substantial public health impact by reducing the disease burden associated with it. The aim of this paper is to summarize the main findings from Cochrane systematic reviews that have considered the evidence for measures to prevent ABM. We assessed the evidence available in the Cochrane Library. We found five Cochrane reviews focused on the prevention of ABM; three with use of vaccination and two with prophylactic antibiotics. Polysaccharide serogroup A vaccine is strongly protective for the first year, against serogroup A meningococcal meningitis in adults and children over 5 years of age. Meningococcal serogroup C conjugate (MCC) vaccine is safe and effective in infants. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine is safe and effective against Hib-invasive disease at all ages. Ceftriaxone, rifampicin and ciprofloxacin are the most effective prophylactic antibiotics against Neisseria meningitidis. There is sufficient evidence to use polysaccharide serogroup A vaccine to prevent serogroup A meningococcal meningitis, MCC conjugate vaccines to prevent meningococcal C meningitis and Hib conjugate vaccine to prevent Hib infections. More studies are needed to evaluate the effects of Hib conjugate vaccine on mortality. Further, studies are required to compare the relative effectiveness of ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin and rifampicin in chemoprophylaxis against meningococcal infection. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Prasad, K., & Karlupia, N. (2007, October). Prevention of bacterial meningitis: An overview of Cochrane systematic reviews. Respiratory Medicine.

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