[The importance of polymerase chain reaction in the diagnosis of enterovirus infections of the central nervous system in children. Clinico-epidemiologic characteristics]

M J Pena, M Bolaños, M C Pérez, M M Mosquera, G Trallero, B Lafarga
Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica 1999, 17 (5): 227-30

BACKGROUND: To compare the diagnosis utility of a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detection of enteroviral RNA in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in comparison to viral culture for central nervous system infections in pediatric population and to know the clinic epidemiological characteristics of this infection.

METHODS: From June to December of 1997, 116 CSF samples of children were included in the study. The samples were inoculated in MRC-5 and HEP-2 and the enterovirus RNA was detected with AMPLICOR-Enterovirus (Roche Diagnostic System). The virus were typed by neutralization.

RESULTS: 36 samples were positive (30 were positive for RT-PCR and 6 for RT-PCR and viral culture). The media time in detect the CPE was 4.8 days. The viruses found were four echovirus 6, one echovirus 30 and one echovirus 7. Fifteen children were under 6 months (93.3% under two months) and 21 children over 6 months with a media age of 81 months (range, 38-160 months). In over 6 months old children, the most frequent clinical presentation was meningitis aseptic syndrome with pleocytosis and in under 6 months old ones was fever and only 60% of these children had pleocytosis. The evolution was good in all the cases.

CONCLUSIONS: AMPLICOR-Enterovirus is a sensitive method for the diagnosis of enteroviral meningitis. The clinical manifestations are different with the age and due to the absence of neurological symptoms and pleocytosis in the patients under two months, we think that it is necessary to study the presence of enterovirus with genetic amplification methods in this population of patients.


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