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Meningitis and Ventriculitis in Children Homepage

This page was last updated on July 8th, 2024




Herbert E. Fuchs, M.D., Ph.D.

Section Editors

Adrian Caceres, MD

Sandip Chatterjee, MBBS, DNB(Surg), FRCS(SN), NAMS(Neurosurg)

Editor in Chief

Rick Abbott, M.D.


Meningitis and ventriculitis are caused by a variety of microorganisms and carry significant rates of morbidity and mortality. Even with prompt diagnosis and treatment, there may be serious sequelae. The etiologies of meningitis and ventriculitis vary with the age of the child. Ventriculitis may accompany meningitis but also may occur independently, especially in patients undergoing neurosurgical procedures such as craniotomy or ventricular shunts.

Key Points

  • Causative organisms vary with host’s country: Meningitis and ventriculitis may be caused by bacteria (including TB), viruses, and fungi. Infective agent(s) vary between developed and developing countries.
  • Health threat is major: Meningitis and ventriculitis are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide.
  • Immunocompromised state is a major risk factor: Infants and immunocompromised patients are most susceptible to meningitis and ventriculitis (33).
  • Vaccinations and antimicrobial treatments are effective: Advances in antimicrobial therapy have significantly improved the outcome of patients with meningitis or ventriculitis. Vaccination has led to significant decreases in meningitis and ventriculitis caused by certain microorganisms.