This guideline covers recognising, diagnosing and managing bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia (blood poisoning) in babies, children and young people under 16. It aims to reduce deaths and disability by promoting early recognition of symptoms and timely effective management.
For recommendations on antibiotic treatment for suspected and confirmed meningitis in babies of up to and including 28 days corrected gestational age who are in neonatal units, see early- and late-onset meningitis (babies in neonatal units) in the NICE guideline on neonatal infection: antibiotics for prevention and treatment.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- symptoms, signs and initial assessment
- pre-hospital management
- diagnosis in secondary care
- management in secondary care
- long-term management
Who is it for?
- Healthcare professionals
- Under 16s with bacterial meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia, and their families and carers
Is this guideline up to date?
We checked this guideline in October 2018 and we are updating it.
See the guideline in development page for progress on the update.
Guideline development process
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.