Background: Haemophilus influenzae is an uncommon cause of meningitis in adults. Methods: We analyzed episodes of community-acquired H. influenzae meningitis in adults included in a prospective nationwide cohort study in the Netherlands. Results: From 2006 to July 2018, 82 of 2272 (4%) bacterial meningitis episodes were caused by H. influenzae (mean annual incidence 0.5 patients per 1,000,000). Median age was 61 years (IQR 46–68), and 48 episodes (59%) occurred in woman. Predisposing factors were otitis and/or sinusitis in 33 of 76 patients (49%), immunocompromising conditions in 19 of 75 patients (25%) and cerebrospinal fluid leak in 13 of 79 patients (17%). Serotyping showed 63 of 80 isolates (79%) were non-typeable (NTHi). Three patients (4%) died and 14 patients (17%) had an unfavorable outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale score < 5 at discharge). Pneumonia (odds ratio [OR] 5.8, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.1–30.8), presence of immunocompromising conditions (OR 6.0, 95%CI 1.5–24.4), and seizures on admission (OR 10.7, 95%CI 1.6–72.8) were associated with an unfavorable outcome, while NTHi was associated with a favorable outcome (OR 5.6, 95%CI 1.6–19.5). Conclusion: H. influenzae is an uncommon cause of adult bacterial meningitis patients mainly causing disease in those with predisposing factors, such as CSF leakage, ENT infections, and immunocompromised state. In adult patients the majority of H. influenzae meningitis is caused by non-typeable strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of infection
Issue number5
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Capsular serotype
  • Clinical characteristics
  • Community-acquired bacterial meningitis
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Prospective cohort study

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