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J Clin Virol. 1998 Aug 20;11(2):117-24.

Application of PCR for various neurotropic viruses on the diagnosis of viral meningitis.

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Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Japan.



Epidemiological studies have indicated that the majority of cases of aseptic meningitis result from viral infections. However, specific viral pathogens for aseptic meningitis can be identified in only some cases even if consistent conventional diagnostic methodologies rare used.


To clarify the etiological agents of aseptic meningitis by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for various neurotropic viruses.


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were collected from 73 children suspected of having meningitis from November 1991 to December 1994. The samples were examined for infectious viruses by cell culture and for viral genomes by PCR.


Of 45 samples from patients diagnosed with aseptic meningitis, positive PCR results for enterovirus, mumps virus, cytomegalovirus, and varicella-zoster virus were obtained from respectively 25, 14, 1, and 1. Viral pathogens were thus identified in 41 (91.1%) of the 45 CSF samples. By the combination of PCR methods with conventional virological methods, the diagnosis of viral meningitis was established in 97.8% of the 45 cases. Our findings prove that the application of PCR methods is useful for etiological study of aseptic meningitis, and that the vast majority of cases of aseptic meningitis result from viral infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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