Journal Article

Diagnosis of Enteroviral Meningitis by Use of Polymerase Chain Reaction of Cerebrospinal Fluid, Stool, and Serum Specimens

Laura Kupila, Tytti Vuorinen, Raija Vainionpää, Reijo J. Marttila and Pirkko Kotilainen

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 40, issue 7, pages 982-987
Published in print April 2005 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/428581
Diagnosis of Enteroviral Meningitis by Use of Polymerase Chain Reaction of Cerebrospinal Fluid, Stool, and Serum Specimens

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Background. Because enteroviruses can be detected in various clinical samples during enteroviral meningitis, we analyzed the combined diagnostic utility of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), feces, and serum for detection of enterovirus in specimens obtained from adults with aseptic meningitis or encephalitis.

Methods. PCR results were analyzed for 34 adults for whom enteroviral meningitis was diagnosed on the basis of virus isolation and antibody detection in our hospital during 1999–2003. PCR results were also analyzed for 77 adults with meningitis or encephalitis of another defined cause for whom this assay was used for diagnostic evaluation during that period.

Results. Twenty-six (76%) of 34 CSF samples and 24 (96%) of 25 fecal samples collected from patients with enteroviral meningitis had positive PCR results. The diagnostic yield of the test was lower for CSF specimens obtained >2 days after clinical onset, compared with CSF collected ⩽2 days after onset. Instead, PCR of feces was highly useful also later, because 12 of the 13 fecal specimens obtained 5–16 days after clinical onset had positive test results. None of 75 CSF samples and 2 of 48 fecal samples obtained from patients with nonenteroviral infection had positive PCR results. All serum samples were PCR negative.

Conclusions. PCR of fecal specimens obtained throughout the course of enteroviral meningitis had the highest clinical sensitivity for detecting enterovirus. It is recommended that, in addition to performance of CSF PCR, fecal samples collected from patients with suspected enteroviral meningitis should be tested by PCR, especially when the duration of symptoms is >2 days.

Journal Article.  3431 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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