30 November 2018

Take 3: How common are the different forms of meningitis?

Clinical Communicable Disease

There are a range of different causes of meningitis from viral infections to bacterial meningitis, including pneumococcal and meningococcal meningitis.

“Meningococcal meningitis is still a relatively rare disease of between 1.2 and 1.3 per 100,000 but the rate is much higher among indigenous Australians,” says Dr Margie Danchin, a paediatrician at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

“There are five main serogroups of meningococcal, and that’s A, B, C, W and Y. And the most common in Australia are B, C, W and Y. Certainly last year the most common meningococcal was W, which was 7% of cases.

“But Men B was about 36% of cases. Interestingly, Men Y moved up slightly to about 20% of cases. So in the last four years there has been a real change in the epidemiology of of meningococcal disease in Australia.”

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