Meningitis and sepsis are extremely severe diseases, responsible for high mortality rates and requiring a rapid and precise determination so that both an appropriate therapy and early prophylaxis can be adopted when required (infections by Neisseria meningitidis or type-b Haemophilus influenzae).

Many germs are, in theory, capable of causing meningitis or sepsis, but in medical practice a small group of them is well known to be responsible for more than 90% of meningitis cases:

  • In breast-fed babies such germs include: Streptococcus agalactiae, Escherichia coli, Lysteria monocytogenes and Klebsiella pneumonia.
  • In healthy children and adults, Meningococcus and Pneumococcus alone account for over 70% of the forms of meningitis/sepsis.

As the methods based on molecular biology do not require live germs, they can be extremely effective in patients who have previously received an antibiotic therapy, they are not affected by the rapidity of transport and are characterised by very high sensitivity and specificity as well as an extremely rapid execution.

The EuSepScreen® Lattanti and EuSepScreen® kits have been designed to obtain maximum sensitivity and specificity in the determination of the most invasive bacterial diseases (meningitis, pneumonia, etc.) by directly using biological samples such as blood, CSF, pleural fluid, synovial fluid or any other, normally sterile, human biological fluid or matter.

In the EuSepScreen® Lattanti and EuSepScreen® kits, the choice of bacteria to be included was made on the basis of the current Italian epidemiological situation, so as to include the germs causing most types of meningitis/sepsis. Specific primers and probes allow to identify, without errors, the germ against which they are directed, thereby avoiding any cross-reactions with other germs or human DNA.

The inclusion of Adenovirus in the EuSepScreen® kit responds to a specific clinical requirement of differential diagnosis: from both a clinical and laboratory point of view, Adenovirus is well known to be able to mimic a septic state, with persistently high fever, severe neutrophilic leukocytosis and high inflammation indexes.

The test is based on molecular biology technique and uses only two primers in each mix thus allowing to obtain the highest sensitivity. The results obtained with this method have demonstrated a 100% specificity (no false positive result) when based on both cerebrospinal fluid and whole blood, or other human biological fluids (7, 8). The sensitivity of this method compared with the cultural method has turned out to be twice as high (200% sensitivity) in the case of meningitis and, with regard to Pneumococcus, about 10 times higher (1000% sensitivity) in pneumonia (8)

 


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