Bacterial meningitis continues to be a serious infectious disease with a high morbidity and mortality in young children. Early recognition and initiation of adequate treatment are the major determinants for a good outcome. Recent advances in our understanding of the host inflammatory response by cytokines may result in the use of new therapeutic strategies. Such modulation of the inflammatory response may reduce the incidence of sequelae and death. The use of steroids as adjunctive therapy in children with bacterial meningitis probably has beneficial effects although the available data are still controversial. Additionally, studies in experimental meningitis models indicate that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and monoclonal antibodies against bacterial products, cytokines and CD18 on leucocytes reduce the extent of the meningeal inflammation. Human studies to evaluate the efficacy of these immune modulators are expected to start soon. However, prevention of bacterial meningitis by conjugate vaccines againstStreptococcus pneumoniae andNeisseria meningitidis will be the most promising development in the next decade.

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European Journal of Pediatrics
Department of Pediatrics

Kornelisse, R., de Groot, R., & Neijens, H. (1995). Bacterial meningitis: Mechanisms of disease and therapy. European Journal of Pediatrics (Vol. 154, pp. 85–96). doi:10.1007/s004310050253