Objective: To characterize the epidemiologic burden and the molecular determinants of group A streptococcal (GAS) meningitis among the pediatric population of the state of Paraná, Brazil.
Methods: Clinical and epidemiologic data were gathered by a compulsory notification system during the period 2003 to 2011. Bacterial identification, antibiotic resistance profile, emm-typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis typing and virulence profile were analyzed by a central reference laboratory. A review of published pediatric cases of GAS meningitis from the last 45 years was undertaken and compared with the Brazilian series.
Results: The incidence of GAS meningitis among the pediatric population was 0.06 cases per 100,000 children per year and was associated with a case fatality rate of 43%. Neonatal age and the presence of an associated toxic shock syndrome were identified as risk factors for death. A distant focus of infection was present in more than half of the patients in the literature and in 36% in the Brazilian case series. A high diversity of emm-types was associated with GAS meningitis in Brazil. No single virulence determinant could be associated with death.
Conclusions: GAS meningitis is associated with high mortality and with a high diversity of GAS emm-types and virulence determinants in Brazil.