Methods of rapid diagnosis for the etiology of meningitis in adults

Nathan C Bahr, David R Boulware
Biomarkers in Medicine 2014, 8 (9): 1085-103
Infectious meningitis may be due to bacterial, mycobacterial, fungal or viral agents. Diagnosis of meningitis must take into account numerous items of patient history and symptomatology along with regional epidemiology and basic cerebrospinal fluid testing (protein, etc.) to allow the clinician to stratify the likelihood of etiology possibilities and rationally select additional diagnostic tests. Culture is the mainstay for diagnosis in many cases, but technology is evolving to provide more rapid, reliable diagnosis. The cryptococcal antigen lateral flow assay (Immuno-Mycologics) has revolutionized diagnosis of cryptococcosis and automated nucleic acid amplification assays hold promise for improving diagnosis of bacterial and mycobacterial meningitis. This review will focus on a holistic approach to diagnosis of meningitis as well as recent technological advances.

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