Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BackgroundAcute bacterial meningitis (ABM) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in children but there are no published data on the treatment outcomes of ABM in Afghanistan.MethodsWe conducted a prospective observational cohort study over one year, February 2020 to January 2021 in a tertiary care hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan. AMB was diagnosed clinically and on lumbar puncture findings. Binary logistic regression assessed factors for death.ResultsA total of 393 ABM children of mean age 4.8 years were recruited. Most were males [231 (58.8%)], living in rural areas [267 (67.9%)] and in households of >10 inhabitants [294 (74.8%)]. Only 96 (24.4%) had received against both Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) or pneumococcal (PCV) vaccines. Children were treated with combination of ceftriaxone and ampicillin and 169/321 (52.6%) received dexamethasone. Of the 321 children with a known outcome, 69 (21.5%) died. Death was significantly associated with: not receiving dexamethasone [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 4.9 (95% CI 2.6-9.5, p <0.001)], coma on admission [AOR 4.6 (I 2.3-9.5, p <0.001)], no PCV [AOR 2.8 (1.2-6.6, p = 0.019)] or Hib vaccine [AOR 2.8 (1.2-6.6, p = 0.019)], and being male [AOR 2.7 (1.4-5.5, p = 0.005).ConclusionsABM causes significant morbidity and mortality in Afghan children that may be improved by greater use of PCV and Hib vaccines. Adjunct dexamethasone should be evaluated formally in our setting.

Original publication




Journal article


PloS one

Publication Date





Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Kandahar University, Kandahar, Afghanistan.


Humans, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Meningitis, Bacterial, Dexamethasone, Haemophilus Vaccines, Prospective Studies, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Afghanistan, Male