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Proficiency of PCR in Hospital Settings for Nonculture Diagnosis of Invasive Meningococcal Infections by Eva Hong, Olivier Barraud, Philippe Bidet, Edouard Bingen, Nicolas Blondiaux, Stéphane Bonacorsi, Christophe Burucoa, Amélie Carrer, Nicolas Fortineau, Gérard Couetdic, René Courcol, Fabien Garnier, Geneviève Héry-Arnaud, Philippe Lanotte, Hervé Le Bars, Marie-Christine Legrand-Quillien, Ludovic Lemée, Laurent Mereghetti, Chantal Millardet, Jacques Minet, Chloé Plouzeau-Jayle, Jean-Louis Pons, Jacqueline Schneider, Muhamed-Kheir Taha

Background: Meningococcal meningitis requires rapid diagnosis and immediate management which is enhanced by the use of PCR for the ascertainment of these infections. However, its use is still restricted to reference laboratories.
Methods: We conducted an interlaboratory study to assess the implementation and the performance of PCR in ten French hospital settings in 2010.
Results: Our data are in favour of this implementation. Although good performance was obtained in identifying Neisseria meningitidis positive samples, the main issue was reported in identifying other species (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae) which are also involved in bacterial meningitis cases.
Conclusions: Several recommendations are required and, mainly, PCR should target the major etiological agents (N. meningitidis, S. pneumonia, and H. influenzae) of acute bacterial meningitis. Moreover, PCR should predict the most frequent serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis according to local epidemiology.

DOI: Clin. Lab. 2012;58:343-346