Diagnosis of enteroviral central nervous system infection by polymerase chain reaction during a large community outbreak.Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1994 Mar; 13(3):177-82.PI
Enteroviruses are common causes of localized and systemic infection in patients of all ages and are the most frequent cause of epidemic aseptic meningitis in the United States. We have developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for rapid diagnosis of enteroviral meningitis. This assay was applied to 257 CSF specimens during a large community outbreak of enterovirus disease; 109 (97%) of 112 enterovirus culture-positive CSF samples contained enterovirus RNA. In addition 35 (66%) of 53 samples from patients with suspected central nervous system disease with negative or no CSF viral cultures were positive by enterovirus PCR. The enterovirus PCR detected 13 different enterovirus serotypes. PCR results are available within 24 hours compared with a mean of 6.8 days for enterovirus culture. The clinical characteristics of 141 patients with enterovirus central nervous system disease are presented. This study demonstrates the usefulness of enterovirus PCR for the rapid diagnosis of enterovirus central nervous system disease and the potential for PCR tests to shorten hospitalization.