Bacterial meningitis risk factors

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aysha Anwar, M.B.B.S[2]


Common risk factors for bacterial meningitis may include extremes of age groups, immunosuppression, recent exposure to person suffering from meningitis, disruption of normal anatomical CNS barrier, medical conditions such as lupus, complement deficiency, sepsis, infective endocarditis, people living in close groups such as college campuses and dorms, alcohalism, smoking and injection drug abuse.[1][2][3][4][5]

Risk factors

Common risk factors of bacterial meningitis may include:[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

  • Extremes of age predispose to bacterial meningitis such as infants and old age
  • Type of bacteria affecting affecting different age groups varies

Community setting

  • People living in dorms
  • Military personnel
  • Large gatherings in college campuses

Certain medical conditions

Working with meningitis-causing pathogens

  • Microbiologists
  • Lab personnel


  • Recent travel to endemic area such as sub-Saharan Africa
  • Travel to Mecca during the annual Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage


Disruption of anatomical CNS barrier

  • Basilar skull fracture
  • Neurosurgery
  • CNS implants such as intracerebral pressure monitors
  • CSF shunts
  • Choclear implants

Other risk factors


  1. 1.0 1.1 Adriani KS, Brouwer MC, van de Beek D (2015). "Risk factors for community-acquired bacterial meningitis in adults". Neth J Med. 73 (2): 53–60. PMID 25753069.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Accessed on 4th September, 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 Durand ML, Calderwood SB, Weber DJ, Miller SI, Southwick FS, Caviness VS; et al. (1993). "Acute bacterial meningitis in adults. A review of 493 episodes". N Engl J Med. 328 (1): 21–8. doi:10.1056/NEJM199301073280104. PMID 8416268.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Korinek AM, Baugnon T, Golmard JL, van Effenterre R, Coriat P, Puybasset L (2006). "Risk factors for adult nosocomial meningitis after craniotomy: role of antibiotic prophylaxis". Neurosurgery. 59 (1): 126–33, discussion 126-33. doi:10.1227/01.NEU.0000220477.47323.92. PMID 16823308.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Moore PS (1992). "Meningococcal meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa: a model for the epidemic process". Clin Infect Dis. 14 (2): 515–25. PMID 1554841.
  6. Revest M, Michelet C (2009). "[Predisposing factors of community acquired bacterial meningitis (excluding neonates)]". Med Mal Infect. 39 (7–8): 562–71. doi:10.1016/j.medmal.2009.02.029. PMID 19419829.
  7. Ataee RA, Mehrabi-Tavana A, Izadi M, Hosseini SM, Ataee MH (2011). "Bacterial meningitis: a new risk factor". J Res Med Sci. 16 (2): 207–10. PMC 3214305. PMID 22091233.
  8. Shapiro ED, Aaron NH, Wald ER, Chiponis D (1986). "Risk factors for development of bacterial meningitis among children with occult bacteremia". J Pediatr. 109 (1): 15–9. PMID 3088242.

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