Incorporation of Real-Time PCR into Routine Public Health Surveillance of Culture Negative Bacterial Meningitis in São Paulo, Brazil
by Claudio T. Sacchi, Lucila O. Fukasawa, Maria G. Gonçalves, Maristela M. Salgado, Kathleen A. Shutt, Telma R. Carvalhanas, Ana F. Ribeiro, Brigina Kemp, Maria C. O. Gorla, Ricardo K. Albernaz, Eneida G. L. Marques, Angela Cruciano, Eliseu A. Waldman, M. Cristina C Brandileone, Lee H. Harrison, São Paulo RT-PCR Surveillance Project Team
Real-time (RT)-PCR increases diagnostic yield for bacterial meningitis and is ideal for incorporation into routine surveillance in a developing country. We validated a multiplex RT-PCR assay for Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae in Brazil. Risk factors for being culture-negative, RT-PCR positive were determined. The sensitivity of RT-PCR in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was 100% (95% confidence limits, 96.0) for N. meningitidis, 97.8% (85.5) for S. pneumoniae, and 66.7% (9.4) for H. influenzae. Specificity ranged from 98.9% to 100%. Addition of RT-PCR to routine microbiologic methods increased the yield for detection of S. pneumoniae, N. meningitidis, and H. influenzae cases by 52%, 85%, and 20%, respectively. The main risk factor for being culture negative and RT-PCR positive was presence of antibiotic in CSF (odds ratio 12.2, 95% CI 5.9-25.0). RT-PCR using CSF was highly sensitive and specific and substantially added to measures of meningitis disease burden when incorporated into routine public health surveillance in Brazil.
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