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.

Several different sources of data, including statutory notifications, were used to identify cases of acute bacterial meningitis in childhood in a defined population. Only half the cases of meningococcal meningitis and less than one quarter of ofther types of bacterial meningitis had been notified. Notified cases differed from the remainder with respect to causative organism, age, outcome, and type of hospital of admission. Thus notifications are an unreliable measure of incidence for this disease, and studies of infectious disease based on notified cases alone should be interpreted with considerable reserve. It is suggested that infectious-disease surveillance should be both clinical and microbiological and that data from different sources need to co-ordinated. The reason for reporting each disease (or organism) should be specified and and reviewed periodically.

Original publication




Journal article


British medical journal

Publication Date





501 - 503


Humans, Bacterial Infections, Meningitis, Communicable Disease Control, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Legislation, Medical, England