Free Content Rapid molecular diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis using the Gen-Probe Amplified Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Direct Test in a large Canadian public health laboratory

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OBJECTIVE: A 5-year retrospective study of the performance of the Gen-Probe Amplified Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Direct Test (MTD) for detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Patient data from culture-confirmed cases of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) were also analysed.

RESULTS: In total, 311 CSF specimens were tested by the MTD, of which 17 were positive. When compared with culture (gold standard), the sensitivity and specificity of the MTD test were 93.8% and 99.3%, respectively. The positive and negative predictive values for TBM were 88.2%, and 99.7%. Clinical and epidemiological information was requested for all culture-positive TBM patients. These data were used to assess the mortality rate (55.6%) and to determine common factors that could be applied as selection criteria for the appropriate testing of CSF by MTD.

CONCLUSION: The study found the MTD test to be a rapid, sensitive and specific test for TBM. A history of immigration from an area endemic for tuberculosis (TB), a history of TB, symptoms of neurological deficits and the results of CSF analyses could be used to appropriately select CSF for MTD testing in order to provide a critical early diagnosis of TBM.

Keywords: molecular; rapid diagnosis; tuberculous meningitis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Clinical and Environmental Microbiology, Laboratories Branch, Ontario, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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