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Meningitis in children

This is an infection of the central nervous system mainly involving the meninges.
Diagnostic Criteria

Children<2 months


Fever or history of fever or low temperature (<35.5OC) with any of the following:


  • Irritability

  • Unable to breastfeed

  • Vomiting everything

  • High pitched cry

  • convulsions

  • Lethargy/unconscious

  • Apneic attacks

  • Stiff neck and bulging fontanelle

Children ≥2 months

Altered level of consciousness, convulsions, bulging of fontanelle and Stiff neck, headache, irritability, confusion, projectile vomiting


  • CSF for microbiology, biochemistry and cytology

  • Blood culture

  • Urine culture

  • FBP

  • RFT

  • CRP

  • RBG

  • Serum electrolytes

  • For newborns consider septic screen (ear swab, cord swab, skin lesion swab)

Pharmacological Treatment

For infants<3month


Give Ampicillin 50mg/kg/dose IV 6 hourly and Gentamicin 7.5mg/kg OD for 14 days (For treatment of newborns refer section 3) OR Ceftriaxone 50mg/kg12 hourly or 100mg/kg once daily for 14 days

Age 3months to<18years


Give Ceftriaxone IV 100mg/kg once daily for 14 days OR Chloramphenicol IV 25mg/kg/dose 6 hourly and Ampicillin 50mg/kg 6 hourly for 14 days


Last updated on 06.09.2020


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  1. Tanzanian Standard treatment guideline for children 2017 edition page 81-82

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