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The latex agglutination test versus counterimmunoelectrophoresis for rapid diagnosis of bacterial meningitis



The latex agglutination test versus counterimmunoelectrophoresis for rapid diagnosis of bacterial meningitis



Canadian Medical Association Journal 127(6): 489-493



A modified latex agglutination (LA) test was compared with Gram-staining and counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIE) for the rapid detection in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of antigen to Haemophilus influenzae type b, Neisseria meningitidis groups A, B and C, Escherichia coli K1, Streptococcus pneumoniae and group B streptococci, seven frequent causes of bacterial meningitis in children. Of 50 CSF samples from patients with culture-proven bacterial meningitis 90% were correctly shown by the LA test to contain antigen of the responsible organism. Gram-staining revealed organisms in 80% of 45 of these samples. In 75% of the 40 samples that were of sufficient volume for CIE, positive results for the appropriate antigen were obtained. The concentration of antigen detected in the CSF by the LA test varied from undetectable to 800 000 ng/ml. Patients with a high concentration (more than 2000 ng/ml or a positive result at dilutions of CSF over 1/8) were significantly more likely to have a poor response to therapy (two died and two had persistent pleocytosis or bacteria in the CSF) than patients with a lower concentration (4/16 v. 0/18, P < 0.05). After appropriate therapy was begun the concentration of antigen fell dramatically, but measurable amounts of antigen persisted in the CSF for up to 6 days. The LA test detected bacterial antigen at concentrations 2 to 70 times below the lower limit detected by CIE. In seven additional patients who had received antibiotics before lumbar puncture was performed the LA test detected antigen from meningitis-causing bacteria even though cultures of the CSF were sterile. In another 145 patients who did not have meningitis the results of the LA test were negative. The LA test, done as described in this article, is easier to perform than CIE and should be a useful addition to the diagnostic tests carried out on the CSF of any patient suspected of having meningitis.

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Accession: 044674328

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PMID: 6749272


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