Infectious diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) such as meningitis/encephalitis (ME) require rapid identification of causative pathogens for effective treatment. This study evaluated the analytical performance and clinical utility of a fully automated multiplex PCR test to improve the microbiological diagnostic workup of ME. Seventy-seven cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 77 patients with suspected ME were studied. The samples were tested by FilmArray™ (FA) ME Panel test and the results were compared with those obtained using conventional microbiological procedures (CMP). Furthermore, the assay’s validity was evaluated testing 5 pooled CSF samples positive for different pathogens. 2 The data showed a good concordance (90.9%) between the FA ME panel test and CMP results. Discrepant results were observed in CSF samples with low viral load (5/77) and in samples of patients (2/77) undergoing antimicrobial therapy for fungal infection. The ability of the FA ME panel test to correctly detect the target pathogens was confirmed. Faster microbiological diagnosis was obtained by the FA ME test in comparison to CMP for bacterial and viral analytes (P<0.001 and P<0.001, respectively). Implementation of microbiological diagnostic workup with FA ME panel test may improve the management of patients with suspected CNS infection.
Infectious meningitis/encephalitis: evaluation of a rapid and fully automated multiplex PCR in the microbiological diagnostic workup.