Background: The rapid diagnosis and treatment of central nervous system (CNS) infections are critical to minimizing morbidity and mortality. We evaluated the implementation status of laboratory tests in patients with suspected CNS infection, and the potential usefulness of a multiplex PCR assay for rapid and simultaneous detection in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 14 targets capable of causing CNS infections.
Methods: The study was conducted at 5 hospitals located in Daegu and Gyeongju over a period of 6 months. A total of 140 patients with suspected CNS infection were included. CSF samples were tested for 6 bacteria, 7 viruses, and 1 yeast using multiplex PCR (FilmArray Meningitis/Encephalitis Panel, BioFire Diagnostics/Biomerieux, Salt Lake City, UT, USA) and conventional diagnostic testing including chemistry tests, cell count, bacterial culture, antigen detection assay, and pathogen-specific PCR.
Results: The five conventional tests most commonly performed were the chemistry and cell count (100%), bacterial culture (94.3%), enterovirus PCR (52.9%), and herpes simplex virus PCR (25.7%). Among the 140 CSF samples, 27 (19.3%) and 42 (30.0%) tested positive by conventional and the FilmArray ME panel testing, respectively.
Conclusions: The detection rate of pathogens for CNS infections increased using only one FilmArray test compared to all of the conventional methods actually performed in patients with suspected CNS infection.