May 4, 2023

Early-Life Meningitis Associated with Risk of Developing Epilepsy in Later Childhood

Article published by Pharmacy Times

Infants exposed to invasive Group B Streptococcus (iGBS) meningitis during their first 3 months of life could have a greater risk of developing epilepsy in later childhood compared to infants who were not exposed, according to a 20-year study conducted from Denmark that was recently published in JAMA Network Open. iGBS is a leading cause of neonatal/young infant mortality. It is also associated with maternal death, stillbirth, and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in the surviving neonates. NDIs include stroke, encephalopathy, cerebral palsy, intellectual and/or motor, vision, hearing impairment, sepsis, and meningitis. Among the limited and small studies that analyze NDI outcomes, most focus on meningitis.

Meningitis may cause epilepsy following neonatal iGBS disease. However, more research is needed to understand iGBS disease on the risk of long-term epilepsy, and the risk among patients with neonatal iGBS sepsis. Investigators evaluated the cumulative risk (CR) of an infant diagnosed with iGBS sepsis or meningitis during the first 3 months of age developing epilepsy. The team accounted for sex, prematurity, and maternal socioeconomic position (SEP) as effect modification factors.