Epidemiology of meningococcal disease in the Panamanian pediatric population, 1998-2008

  • Javier Nieto-Guevara Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud, Panama
  • Kathia Luciani Hospital del Niño, Panama
  • Abian Montesdeoca-Melían Hospital Universitario de Canarias
  • Mercedes Mateos-Durán Hospital Universitario de Canarias


Introduction: Worldwide public health authorities report 500,000 cases of invasive meningococcal disease with 50,000 deaths per year and 10-15% of sequelae in people affected. This study describes the epidemiology, microbiology, and clinical presentation of this disease in the Panamanian pediatric population.

Methodology:  The discharge of patients with a meningococcal invasive disease diagnosis was reviewed in the statistical database and archives of the Hospital del Niño.

Results: A total of 32 discharges with a meningococcal disease diagnosis were reported during the study period (1998-2008).  Ninety-one percent (n/N = 29/32) were confirmed as meningitis. The mean age of patients was 4.1 ± 4.6 years. The incidence in the period of the study was 0.25/100,000. Infants younger than one year old presented the highest incidence rate and number of cases. Four deaths were reported, three of which occurred in the group of 10-14 years and one in the group of 1-4 years. The overall fatality rate was 12.5%. The serogroup of the causative agent, Neisseria meningitidis, was documented in 30 of the 32 cases, with serogroup B the most frequent (66.7%). Ninety-percent (18/20) of serogroup B were isolated in the first five years of study. Serogroup C was identified in 8 of the 12 cases during the period 2004-2008.

Conclusions: The present study showed a change in the epidemiological circulation pattern from serogroup B to serogroup C during the study period. Such epidemiological surveillance data is important in the implementation of preventive measures such as vaccination.

Author Biographies

Javier Nieto-Guevara, Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud, Panama

Deputy Director, Dirección General

Kathia Luciani, Hospital del Niño, Panama

Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Deparment of Pediatrics

Abian Montesdeoca-Melían, Hospital Universitario de Canarias

Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics

Mercedes Mateos-Durán, Hospital Universitario de Canarias
Pediatrician, Deparment of Pediatrics
How to Cite
Nieto-Guevara J, Luciani K, Montesdeoca-Melían A, Mateos-Durán M (2010) Epidemiology of meningococcal disease in the Panamanian pediatric population, 1998-2008. The Journal Of Infection In Developing Countries 5 (05): 318-323. https://doi.org/10.3855/jidc.1518
Emerging Problems in Infectious Diseases


epidemiology; children; N.meningitidis; serogroup; Panama