Etiology and risk factors of meningitis in patients admitted at a central hospital in Harare
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Meningitis is an infectious disease characterized by inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spina] code most often caused by infection. There is a wide array of causes of meningitis which include bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.1 Isolation and identification of these etiological agents depends on the availability of ideal medical laboratory facilities and trained personnel. The disease is a serious source of Public Health concern associated with high morbidity and mortality worldwide. An approximated 890 000 cases of meningitis are reported to occur annually worldwide with at least 500 000 of these cases occurring in Africa due to poor socioeconomic conditions. The Pacific countries account for an estimated 210 000 cases with 100 000 in Europe and about 80 000 in the United States of America.2 4 Out of the approximated 130 000 annual deaths worldwide, two thirds occur in low income countries like those in Africa affecting mainly children under the age of 15 years.3 These statistics show the disproportionately large burden of meningitis on Africa with more than 50% of cases occurring within this region.