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Decline in meningitis admissions in young children: vaccines make a difference

Hannah C Moore and Deborah Lehmann
Med J Aust 2006; 185 (7): 404.

To the Editor: Meningitis is one of the most serious infections in young children. The annual incidence of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis between 1984 and 1988 was 150 per 100 000 population in Aboriginal children and 27 per 100 000 in non-Aboriginal children younger than 5 years.1 A conjugate Hib vaccination program was introduced in Western Australia in January 1993, before a nationwide program commenced in July 1993. Subsequent marked declines in incidence of Hib meningitis have been reported.2-4 However, there are no recent reports on trends in overall admissions for meningitis.

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  • Hannah C Moore
  • Deborah Lehmann

  • Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA.

Correspondence: hannahm@ichr.uwa.edu.au

  • 1. Hanna JN, Wild BE. Bacterial meningitis in children under five years of age in Western Australia. Med J Aust 1991; 155: 160-164.
  • 2. Bower C, Condon R, Payne J, et al. Measuring the impact of conjugate vaccines on invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infection in Western Australia. Aust N Z J Public Health 1998; 22: 67-72.
  • 3. Horby P, Gilmour R, Wang H, et al. Progress towards eliminating Hib in Australia: an evaluation of Haemophilus influenzae type b prevention in Australia, 1 July 1993 to 30 June 2000. Commun Dis Intell 2003; 27: 324-341.
  • 4. Brotherton J, McIntyre P, Puech M, et al. Vaccine preventable diseases and vaccination coverage in Australia 2001 to 2002. Commun Dis Intell 2004; 28 Suppl 2: vii-S116.
  • 5. Holman CD, Bass AJ, Rouse IL, et al. Population-based linkage of health records in Western Australia: development of a health services research linked database. Aust N Z J Public Health 1999; 23: 453-459.

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