Since the 1990s, the epidemiology of bacterial meningitis worldwide has changed thanks to vaccination. In
Tunisia, the main causative pathogens were Streptococcus pneumoniae
, Neisseria meningitidis
and Haemophilus influenzae
(Hib). Only Hib vaccination was available during our study period.
We performed a laboratory case report based-study of suspected bacterial meningitis in Northern Tunisia from
January 2014 to June 2017.
CSF samples obtained from children beyond neonatal age with suspicion of meningitis were tested by two real
time PCRs, targeting pneumococcus, meningococcus and Hib, and conventional methods.
Using real-time PCR, 63 were positive including ten supplementary cases compared to conventional methods. A
general decrease of bacterial meningitis cases was demonstrated comparing to previous data. Pneumococcus
(69.84%) followed by meningococcus
(28.57%) and Hib (1.59%). The main serotypes were 14, 19F, 6B and 23F for pneumococcus
and serogroup B for meningococcus
. Most cases occurred during cold season and children under one year were the most affected
by bacterial meningitis.
Our study suggests the predominance of pneumococcal cases. It may provide valuable data on meningitis
epidemiology before the introduction of pneumococcal vaccine, which may be useful for future evaluation.