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Clinical features, acute complications, and outcome of Salmonella meningitis in children under one year of age in Taiwan

Hung-Ming Wu178*, Wan-Yu Huang5, Meng-Luen Lee2, Albert D Yang3, Ko-Ping Chaou4 and Lin-Yu Hsieh6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan

2 Pediatrics, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan

3 Neuroradiology, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan

4 Psychiatry, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan

5 Department of Neuropediatrics, Kuang-Tein General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

6 Research center of speech and language disorders, Department of Pediatrics, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan

7 Neuroscience & Psychiatry Research Lab, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan

8 Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-30

Published: 27 January 2011



Salmonella meningitis remains a threat to children below two years of age in both developing and developed countries. However, information on such infections has not been well characterized. We analyzed data related to twelve years of experience in order to clarify the comprehensive features of Salmonella meningitis in our patients, including admission characteristics, acute complications, and long-term outcome.


The records of patients with spontaneous Salmonella meningitis from 1982 to 1994 were retrospectively reviewed. The long-term outcome was prospectively determined for survivors at school age by the developmental milestones reported by their parents and detailed neurological evaluation along with intelligence, hearing, visual, speech and language assessments.


Of the twenty-four patients, seizures were noted in fifteen (63%) before admission and thirteen (54%) during hospitalization. Acute complications mainly included hydrocephalus (50%), subdural collection (42%), cerebral infarction (33%), ventriculitis (25%), empyema (13%), intracranial abscess (8%), and cranial nerve palsy (8%). Three patients (13%) died during the acute phase of Salmonella meningitis. The twenty-one survivors, on whom we followed up at school age, have sequelae consisting of language disorder (52%), motor disability (48%), intelligence quotient < 80 (43%), epilepsy (33%), sensorineural hearing loss (17%), visual deficits (10%), abducens nerve palsy (5%), microcephaly (5%), and hydrocephalus (5%). Overall, good outcome was noted in six (28.6%) of twenty-one survivors, mild sequelae in three (14.2%), moderate in six (28.6%), and severe in six (28.6%).


Salmonella meningitis in neonates and infants had a wide spectrum of morbidity and acute complications, leading to a complicated hospital course and subsequently a high prevalence of permanent adverse outcome. Thus, early recognition of acute complications of Salmonella meningitis and a follow-up plan for early developmental assessment of survivors are vital.