South African Medical Journal

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The epidemiology and outcome of childhood tuberculous meningitis The Pelonomi Hospital experience

C.J. Schoeman


A prospective study was undertaken to determine the epidemiology and outcome of tuberculous meningitis in children admitted to hospital in Bloemtontein, OFS. Over a 5-year period 75 patients were studied, and 78% of them were < 5 years of age. The largest group of patients came from rural areas. The annual incidence in the 0 - 14-year-old group for the City of Bloemfontein was estimated at 3,6/100000. Most patients were in an advanced stage of illness at the start of therapy and the mortality rate was 18%. Of those patients who survived, 26% had severe neurological sequelae. The incidence of tuberculous meningitis can be decreased by improving primary health care facilities in certain areas of the OFS.

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