Background and Aim: Acute meningitis is considered as a medical emergency which requires an urgent diagnosis and treatment. Otherwise high rates of mortality, morbidity or complications will be inevitable.
Information about the geographical and epidemiological aspects of the disease will lead to a better management. The present study was designed to evaluate the causes of meningitis in regard to demographic characteristics of people in Kurdistan province.
Materials and Methods: The study was descriptive and included all the patients with the diagnosis of meningitis from 1381 to the end of 1383 in Kurdistan province. The sampling method was census and check lists were used for data collection. SPSS was used for the statistical analysis.
Results: The sample size included 161 patients [104 (64.5%) male and 57 (35.4%) female] 107 (66.4%) of them were diagnosed as bacterial meningitis. and 54 (33.5%) had viral meningitis. The incidence rate of the bacterial meningitis was most frequent in spring and summer while the viral cases were usually encountered in winter.
The majority of the patients (34.6%) aged 0-4 year(s). The most common clinical findings were fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and meningismus, respectively. More than 80% of the patients showed two or more symptoms simultaneously. 11 (68%) patients died of the disease (7 cases with bacterial and 4 cases with vival meningitis)
Major predisposing factors such as head trauma, neurosurgical operations, fracture of the skull base and otitis media were detected in 12 (7.4%) cases. CSF smears were positive (17 gram negative and 8 gram positive diplococci) in 25 cases (23.4%).
CSF cultures were positive, in 14 (8.6%) patients (meningococci in 11 and pneumococci in 3 cases).
Conclusion: According to the results of this study the male to female ratio was 1.9. The disease was more frequent at the age group of 0-4 years with a higher mortality rate. The morbidity and mortality rates were less than those of the other countries which may be due to lack of registration or report of the cases. The most frequent pathogen in cultures was meningococcus. Therefore further investigations about vaccination of the people in the society or those at risk are recommended.
Key words: Meningitis, Mortality, Bacterial, Viral