Neonatal meningitis: giant enemy of the little brain

Published:November 18, 2021DOI:


      Neonatal meningitis can be devastating for the developing brain. Over decades, mortality has been reduced with better diagnostic modalities and early use of antibiotics. However, the long-term outcome is still poor for many babies. Pathogens causing meningitis include the most common bacteria to some rare viral or fungal entities. Early suspicion and prompt treatment are our best weapons against this old enemy. Treatment duration varies depending upon the pathogen and clinical response. Neuroimaging plays an important role in prognosis and MRI brain is emerging as an excellent outcome predictor. Prevention or very early treatment, by implementing holistic care to neonates and pregnant mothers and identifying the risk factors as early as possible, is essential to improve outcomes. This short article provides an overview of neonatal meningitis and discusses the recommendations for diagnosis and treatment offered in some of the evidence-based clinical practice guidelines used in higher income countries.


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