Molecular diagnosis of bacterial meningitis by multiplex real time PCR in Tunisian children
Introduction: Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency requiring a fast and reliable diagnosis. Molecular methods such as real-time PCR (rt-PCR) offer an attractive alternative. Thus, this study aims to establish multiplex rt-PCRs detecting N. meningitidis, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae b from cerebrospinal fluid in Tunisian children beyond neonatal age.
Methodology: Using bioinformatic tools and experimentation, we validated the specificity and optimal criteria of PCRs for primers and probes of plyA (S. pneumoniae), ctrA and sodC (N. meningitidis) and bexA genes (H. influenzae b). We performed one multiplex RT-PCR for detection of S. pneumoniae and N. meningitidis targeting plyA and ctrA, sodC genes respectively, simultaneously with a singleplex RT-PCR for H. influenzae b. The sensitivity and specificity of our methods were assessed. Then, we tested our methods for 122 CSF samples collected from suspected meningitis cases between 2014 and 2016 in Bechir Hamza Children’s Hospital of Tunis.
Results: Our results have shown the sensitivity of the designed PCRs was up to 10-4 DNA dilution and the specificity was 100%. PCR evaluation has shown 51 positive samples: 38 of pneumococcal cases, 12 meningococcal cases, 1 case of H. influenzae b with 8.57% and 50% of supplementary positive cases rates respectively.
Conclusions: Our assay proved to be very sensitive, specific and rapid for bacterial meningitis diagnosis. In the recent context of Hib vaccination, the possibility of detecting S. pneumoniae and N. meningitidis separately constitute an attractive opportunity. Nevertheless, simultaneous detection of Hib remains relevant in specific clinical context and for epidemiologic study.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).