Larger Children at Risk in Meningococcal Infections

Better nutrition associated with more severe disease and more mortality

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Larger, better nourished children with invasive meningococcal infections are more likely to have severe cases of the disease and are more likely to die from it than smaller children with poorer nutrition, according to the results of a prospective observational study published in the September issue of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Nestor Perez, of the Sor Maria Ludovica Children's Hospital in La Plata, Argentina, and colleagues followed 127 patients aged 1 month to 4 years admitted to their hospital with invasive meningococcal infection between 1999 and 2004.

Children with severe disease had significantly higher body mass index and were significantly taller than children with non-severe disease. Those who died from the disease had higher weight for age as well as height for age z scores than those who survived.

"Fat excess may be a proinflammatory condition, and fat tissue may be an important source of tumor necrosis factor and other proinflammatory mediators," the authors suggest. "Therefore, our findings may represent an association between nutritional status and the ability to mount a subnormal, normal or exaggerated inflammatory response."

Abstract
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