The Particulars: Studies have indicated that meningitis vaccinations can help reduce the number of cases of the most common meningeal pathogens. Researchers, however, have not explored the patterns of the most common bacterial etiologies in the United States.

Data Breakdown: A review of national hospital discharge data on bacterial meningitis found that Streptococcus pneumoniae appeared to be the most common cause of bacterial meningitis between 1997 and 2010 . During the study period, the incidence of pneumococcal meningitis decreased by 63%. Mortality from S. pneumoniae meningitis decreased by 68% in the study. The number of Neisseria meningitides cases also decreased by 86%. The average hospital lengths of stay (LOS) for patients with bacterial meningitis did not appear to change significantly. However, the average costs for hospitalization increased from $30,000 to $70,000 over the 13-year study period.

Take Home Pearls: Streptococcus pneumoniae appears to be the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. However, the incidence and mortality associated with the pathogen decreased significantly between 1997 and 2010. Although the hospital LOS for patients with bacterial meningitis remained consistent, costs for hospitalization appear to have more than doubled.