Meningitis, Encephalitis Caused by Viruses Mostly in the U.S.

Researchers evaluated 26,429 patients aged ≥18 years with meningitis or encephalitis
Researchers evaluated 26,429 patients aged ≥18 years with meningitis or encephalitis

Viruses were the most common cause of meningitis and encephalitis in the United States during 2011–2014, and were treated with antibiotics for the majority of cases, according to a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases

In order to investigate the etiology and management of meningitis and encephalitis in the U.S., researchers evaluated 26,429 patients aged ≥18 years with meningitis or encephalitis according to ICD-9 codes available in the Premier Healthcare Database during 2011–2014. Fifty-three percent of patients were female and the median age was 43 years. 

Enterovirus was found to be the most common etiology (50.9%), followed by unknown (18.7%), bacterial meningitis (13.9%), herpes simplex virus (8.3%), non-infectious (3.4%), fungal (2.7%), arboviruses (1.1%), and other viruses (0.8%).  

Related Articles

For most cases, empiric therapy with antibiotics (85.8%) was given, followed by antivirals (53.4%) and antifungals (7.8%). Steroids were administered as adjunct therapy in 15.9% of patients, and in 39.33% of patients with pneumococcal meningitis, with an associated reduction in mortality (6.67% vs. 12.5%; P=0.0245). 

The longest duration of hospital stay was 13 days for fungal meningitis, 10 days for arboviral meningitis, and 7 days for bacterial meningitis; median length of stay was 4 days. 

Inpatient mortality was highest in arboviral disease at 8.9%, followed by fungal and bacterial at 8.2%; overall inpatient mortality was 2.9%. The overall readmission rate at 30 days was 3.2% with the highest rates seen with arboviral (12.7%), bacterial (6.7%), and fungal (5.4%) etiologies. 

Lead author, Rodrigo Hasbun, added, "Adjunctive steroids are underutilized in pneumococcal meningitis where it has shown to decrease mortality." 

For more information visit academic.oup.com.