Introduction: Central nervous system (CNS) infections are life-threatening diseases caused by viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal microorganisms. The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of universal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of bacterial meningitis among patients who were referred to Koodakan Hospital in Bandar Abbas because they were suspected of having the disease.

Methods: This study was conducted in 2013 on the patients who were admitted to Bandar Abbas’ Koodakan Hospital because they were suspected of having meningitis. A questionnaire, including demographic data, was completed for each patient. Universal PCR, Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, and gram staining and cultures were done for all the patients. The data were analyzed using SPSS software.

Results: Among the 100 patients studied 59 (59%) were male and 41 (41%) were female. No patient in our study had a positive smear and culture for meningitis. Among the patients with negative smears and cultures six (6%) had positive universal PCR, and 94 (94%) had negative universal PCR. Based on these results, PCR had 95% specificity and 100% negative predictive value for the prediction of meningitis. In 30 patients (30%), the biochemical analysis of CSF were in favor of meningitis. Among the 30 patients, six patients (20%) had positive universal PCR and 24 patients (80%) had negative universal PCR.

Conclusion: Based on our results, the universal PCR test is useful in the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis in children. We recommend using it in combination with other tests, such as CSF analysis, for diagnosis of bacterial meningitis.


Keywords: meningitis, universal PCR, gram stain and culture
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