Bacterial meningitis other diagnostic studies

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aysha Anwar, M.B.B.S[2]


Other diagnostic tests which may be used to diagnose bacterial meningitis include rapid tests such as latex agglutination tests and immunochrmatographic tests and polymerase chain reaction. These tests have high sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing specific pathogen responsible for bacterial meningitis. Latex agglutination tests are no longer used due to high false positive tests.[1]

Other diagnostic tests

Other diagnostic tests which may be used to diagnose bacterial meningitis may include:

Rapid tests

Two rapid detection tests which may be used to diagnose bacterial meningitis may include:[1][2][3]

Latex agglutination test

  • May be used for detecting common meningeal pathogens[1]
  • Not used routinely due to false positive results

Immunochromatographic tests

  • It is 100 percent sensitive and specific for diagnosing streptococcus pneumoniae infection.[2][3]

Nucleic acid amplification tests(NAT)

  • NAT such as PCR may be used to diagnose specific pathogen responsible for meningitis such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitides and Hemophilus Influenza
  • The sensitivity and specificity of PCR for pneumococcal meningitis is 92 percent and 100 percent respectively.
  • False positive tests may be reported with NAT.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Tunkel AR, Hartman BJ, Kaplan SL, Kaufman BA, Roos KL, Scheld WM; et al. (2004). "Practice guidelines for the management of bacterial meningitis". Clin Infect Dis. 39 (9): 1267–84. doi:10.1086/425368. PMID 15494903.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Saha SK, Darmstadt GL, Yamanaka N, Billal DS, Nasreen T, Islam M; et al. (2005). "Rapid diagnosis of pneumococcal meningitis: implications for treatment and measuring disease burden". Pediatr Infect Dis J. 24 (12): 1093–8. PMID 16371872.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Werno AM, Murdoch DR (2008). "Medical microbiology: laboratory diagnosis of invasive pneumococcal disease". Clin Infect Dis. 46 (6): 926–32. doi:10.1086/528798. PMID 18260752.

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