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Rationalising the use of polymerase chain reaction based tests for diagnosis of common viral infections of the central nervous system
  1. S Chakrabarti,
  2. D Garvie,
  3. K RayChaudhuri,
  4. G Gopal Rao
  1. Department of Microbiology, University Hospital Lewisham, London SE13 6LH, UK;

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    Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based tests have proved to be useful for establishing the aetiology of many infections of the central nervous system (CNS). As a result there has been a rise in the demand for these relatively expensive tests. A recent study has shown that the detection of herpes simplex virus (HSV) by PCR is highly unlikely if the leucocyte count and protein concentration of the cerebrospinal spinal fluid (CSF) are within the normal range. They suggest that not performing PCR tests for HSV on CSF specimens with a normal leucocyte count and protein concentration will result in considerable savings without decreasing sensitivity for the …

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