European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 177, Issue 9, pp 1309–1315 | Cite as

Long-term health and socioeconomic consequences of childhood and adolescent onset of meningococcal meningitis

  • Line Pickering
  • Poul JennumEmail author
  • Rikke Ibsen
  • Jakob Kjellberg
Original Article


We estimated the long-term socioeconomic consequences and health care costs of Neisseria meningitidis meningitis (NM). The prospective cohort study included Danish individuals with onset of NM in childhood and adolescence, diagnosed between 1980 and 2009. Health care costs and socioeconomic data were obtained from nationwide administrative and health registers. Two thousand nine hundred two patients were compared with 11,610 controls matched for age, gender, and other sociodemographic characteristics. In the follow-up analysis at the age of 30 years, 1028 patients were compared with 4452 controls. We found that (1) NM caused increased mortality at disease onset, but after adequate treatment, the mortality rate was similar to that of the general population; (2) neurological and eye diseases were more frequently observed in patients; (3) patients had significantly lower grade-point averages; (4) patients had lower income even when transfer payments were taken into account; and (5) patients’ initial health care costs were elevated.

Conclusion: NM has significant influence on mortality, morbidity, education, and income. We suggest that the management of patients with previous meningococcal meningitis should focus on early educational and social interventions to improve social and health outcomes.

What is known:

• Meningococcal meningitis is a severe infectious disease affecting children and adolescents with high rates of mortality and complications.

What is new:

Meningococcal meningitis causes increased mortality at disease onset, but after adequate treatment the mortality rate is similar to that of the general population.

Meningococcal meningitis in childhood and adolescence has a major long-term effect on morbidity, health care costs, education, employment, and income.


Neisseria meningitidis Meningitis Morbidity Mortality Health Socioeconomic 



General linear regression model


Neisseria meningitidis meningitis


Odds ratio


Authors’ contributions

PJ and JK were responsible for the creation, initiation, and management of the project. LP is the main author. RI performed the statistical analyses and commented on the manuscript. LP commented on the methods. All authors commented and approved the final version of the manuscript.


The study received internal funding from the Danish Center for Sleep Medicine, Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, University of Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Denmark. The funder had no influence on the study design, the collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, the writing of the report, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

The study is a national register study approved by the Statistics Denmark.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Line Pickering
    • 1
  • Poul Jennum
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rikke Ibsen
    • 2
  • Jakob Kjellberg
    • 3
  1. 1.Danish Center for Sleep Medicine, Department of Clinical NeurophysiologyUniversity of CopenhagenGlostrupDenmark
  2. 2.i2mindsAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.The Danish Center for Social Science ResearchCopenhagenDenmark

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