Epidemiology for public health
Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Epidemiology for public health - ISS

Invasive bacterial diseases (IBDs), such as meningitis, sepsis, bacteremic pneumonia and other clinical presentations with bacteria isolated from normally sterile sites (e.g. blood, cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid) are a major cause of morbidity and are frequently associated with severe complications. The most common clinical presentations of these infections are meningitis and sepsis, which can coexist in the same patient.


In Italy, the national surveillance of bacterial meningitis and invasive meningococcal, pneumococcal and Haemophilus diseases is carried out for the prevention and control of meningitis (Circulars n. 400.2/15/5709 of 29 December 1993 and n. 400.2/15/3290 of 27 July 1994, issued by the Ministry of Health), as well as invasive bacterial diseases caused by meningococcus, pneumococcus and Haemophilus influenzae (2007 scientific protocol), under the new guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health in its Circular of 9 May 2017: “Prevention and control of vaccine-preventable invasive bacterial diseases”.


As is well known, vaccines are currently available to prevent infection with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) serogroups A, B, C, W, Y and some serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). They are known to be effective also in the first year of life. Surveillance of infections caused by these pathogens is crucial to estimating the proportion of preventable cases and the impact of the implemented strategies.

Publication date: 15 February 2021