This review comprises aspects of the epidemiology, microbiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, management, prognosis, and prevention of bacterial meningitis, with emphasis on the paediatric population. The beginning of this millennium has witnessed the virtual disappearance of Haemophilus invasive disease in some countries, emergence of pneumococcal strains that are resistant to multiple antibiotics, isolation of pneumococci with tolerance to vancomycin, outbreaks and clusters of meningococcal meningitis in several geographical areas, and intense research in development of effective conjugate pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines. Bacterial meningitis has become an uncommon disease in the developed world. Unfortunately, because of limited economic resources and poor living conditions, many developing countries are still affected by the devastating consequences of this life-threatening systemic infection. Basic and clinical research is needed to discover new antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents to improve outcome from disease. Novel strategies are needed to distribute and implement effective vaccines worldwide to prevent bacterial meningitis.
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