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Evaluation of a rapid antigen test for detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae in cerebrospinal fluid


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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