Evaluation of a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for the diagnosis of pneumococcal and meningococcal meningitis in a tertiary care hospital

  • E. Van GastelEmail author
  • P. Bruynseels
  • W. Verstrepen
  • A. Mertens
Concise Article


This study evaluated the performance of a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay in comparison with Gram staining and culture of cerebrospinal fluid for the diagnosis of meningococcal and pneumococcal meningitis in patients with suspected bacterial meningitis. The sensitivity for detection of Neisseria meningitidis in cerebrospinal fluid was 87% (20/23) for the PCR assay, 27% (6/22) for Gram staining, and 17% (4/23) for culture. The sensitivity for detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae in cerebrospinal fluid was 100% (14/14) for the PCR assay, 62% (8/13) for Gram staining, and 36% (5/14) for culture. Therefore, we recommend that real-time PCR of cerebrospinal fluid for detection of N. meningitidis and S. pneumoniae become a part of the routine diagnostic procedure for patients with suspected bacterial meningitis.


Meningitis Bacterial Meningitis Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay Pneumococcal Meningitis Neisseria Meningitidis 
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The experiments in this study comply with the current laws of Belgium.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Van Gastel
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Bruynseels
    • 1
  • W. Verstrepen
    • 1
  • A. Mertens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyZNA MiddelheimAntwerpBelgium

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