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Acute bacterial meningitis in infants and children.

Bacterial meningitis continues to be an important cause of mortality and morbidity in neonates and children throughout the world. The introduction of the protein conjugate vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Neisseria meningitidis has changed the epidemiology of bacterial meningitis. Suspected bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency and needs empirical antimicrobial treatment without delay, but recognition of pathogens with increasing resistance to antimicrobial drugs is an important factor in the selection of empirical antimicrobial regimens. At present, strategies to prevent and treat bacterial meningitis are compromised by incomplete understanding of the pathogenesis. Further research on meningitis pathogenesis is thus needed. This Review summarises information on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, new diagnostic methods, empirical antimicrobial regimens, and adjunctive treatment of acute bacterial meningitis in infants and children.

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