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Epidemiol Infect. 1996 Dec;117(3):507-12.

Viral meningitis due to echovirus types 6 and 9: epidemiological data from Western Australia.

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  • 1Epidemiology Branch, Health Department of Western Australia, East Perth, Australia.


During the autumn of 1992, Western Australia experienced a large viral meningitis outbreak of dual aetiology. Of the 161 cases, 64% were children under 15 years of age, with the highest notification rate being in children less than 5 years of age. Echovirus 9 caused 41% of cases and occurred mainly in the metropolitan areas of Western Australia whereas echovirus 6, which caused 37% of cases, was more widespread. An enterovirus was cultured from 70% of CSF specimens, 88% of faecal specimens and 68% of upper respiratory tract specimens. High CSF white cell counts and neutrophil predominance were common. Seven cases had normal CSF white cell counts even though an enterovirus was isolated from the CSF. Therefore, the CSF findings were of restricted value in excluding viral meningitis, and did not reliably distinguish between bacterial and viral meningitis.

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