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Evaluation of a rapid antigen test for detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae in cerebrospinal fluid
  1. Angel Boulos1,
  2. Derek Fairley1,2,
  3. James McKenna1,
  4. Peter Coyle1,2
  1. 1Department of Microbiology, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
  2. 2Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Angel Boulos, Department of Microbiology, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, Kelvin Building, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT12 6BA, UK; aboulos01{at}


Detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae antigen in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) using lateral flow immunochromatography tests (ICTs) is an effective, rapid and low-cost method to diagnose pneumococcal meningitis. This study evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of the Uni-Gold ICT to detect pneumococcal antigen in CSF specimens, compared with gold standard bacteriology and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) testing. CSF specimens (n=69) from patients with suspected bacterial meningitis were included in the study. 13/69 (19%) were positive and 56/69 (81%) were negative for pneumococcus by the gold standard tests. The ICT had sensitivity of 85% (55%–98%), specificity of 96% (88%–100%), positive likelihood ratio of 23.7 (6–94) and negative likelihood ratio of 0.16 (0.04–0.57). Overall, a strong correlation between the ICT and qPCR results was seen (κ=0.81). In contrast, CSF microscopy and culture were exceptionally insensitive. The ICT method is sufficiently robust and accurate for use in algorithms to diagnose bacterial meningitis.


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  • Handling editor Slade Jensen

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.