This Week In The Bmj

Chemoprophylaxis reduces the risk of meningitis

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 03 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0

In people who had contact with patients with meningococcal infection, antibiotic prophylaxis reduced the risk of developing meningitis. Reviewing more than 100 papers, Purcell and colleagues (p 1339) identified five good quality studies, including 1249 cases of meningitis and 4271 household contacts, of whom 1742 had had chemoprophylaxis. Treatment reduced the risk of developing meningitis by 89%, and the estimated number needed to treat to prevent one case was 218 people. Index patients should have chemoprophylaxis before discharge from hospital, as at least 3% will still be carrying the infection despite treatment.

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