August 1984

Bacterial Meningitis in the Elderly

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine (Drs Gorse, Thrupp, and Cesario), and the Departments of Neurology (Dr Nudleman), and Pathology (Ms Hawkins), University of California at Irvine Medical Center, Orange; and the Department of Infectious Diseases, Long Beach (Calif) Veterans Administration Medical Center (Dr Wyle). Dr Gorse is now at Marshall University School of Medicine, Huntington, WVa.

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(8):1603-1607. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350200107016

• To assess the implications of meningitis in a more mature population, we reviewed the records of patients with meningitis: 71 aged 50 years and older and 138 patients aged 15 to 49 years. Among the older population, 54 (76%) had bacterial, nine (13%) had granulomatous, and eight (11%) had aseptic meningitis. Among the cases of bacterial meningitis in the older age group, Streptococcus pneumoniae accounted for 24% (13/54) and enteric bacilli accounted for 17% (9/54). Serious complications occurred in 38 elderly patients (70%) with bacterial meningitis, and mortality occurred in 24 (44%). In the younger age group with bacterial meningitis, the complication rate and mortality were 41% (13/32) and 13% (4/32), respectively. Meningitis in the elderly is likely to be bacterial and to cause greater morbidity and mortality.

(Arch Intern Med 1984;144:1603-1607)