Research Article

Meningococcal infections during infancy: confidential inquiries into 10 deaths.

Br Med J 1979; 2 doi: (Published 25 August 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;2:468
  1. J R Oakley,
  2. A N Stanton


    The first 10 deaths from meningococcal infections in children aged under 2 years that were reported to a DHSS multicentre study were reviewed. Confidential inquiries were made of the parents, family doctors, health visitors, and hospital staff concerned with each case, and management was discussed with a paediatrician and pathologist. Diagnosis and treatment were often delayed because doctors did not realise the importance of the purpuric rash. One child died at home, and by the time they were admitted to hospital all the remaining nine were shocked and needed resuscitation. Prodromal symptoms, mainly changes in behaviour, preceded the rash in all cases. These prodromal symptoms should arouse the suspicion of septicaemia and prompt a search for petechiae so that early effective treatment may be started.