REVIEW – January 2009

Meningococcal infection in children and adults


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Neisseria meningitidis is a human pathogen that is a causative agent of bacterial meningitis and fulminant meningococcal sepsis. Although advances have been made in understanding the pathophysiology, management and prevention of meningococcal infection, it still remains a devastating disease for which early recognition and introduction of effective antibacterial and intensive care is crucial. In this article the epidemiology, approaches to diagnosis, treatment, and prophylactic measures are discussed and guidance for evidence based therapeutic measures and chemoprophylaxis is given. Development and introduction into practice of new meningococcal vaccines that would be effective against all common meningococcal serogroups will present a crucial challenge.