Intervirology 2017 28;60(3):118-124. Epub 2017 Sep 28.
Laboratorio Central de Epidemiología, Instituto Mexicano de Seguridad Social (IMSS), Mexico City, México.
Background: Enterovirus (EV) and herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV1 and HSV2) are the main etiologic agents of central nervous system infections. Early laboratory confirmation of these infections is performed by viral culture of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or the detection of specific antibodies in serum (e.g., HSV). The sensitivity of viral culture ranges from 65 to 75%, with a recovery time varying from 3 to 10 days. Serological tests are faster and easy to carry out, but they exhibit cross-reactivity between HSV1 and HSV2. Although molecular techniques are more sensitive (sensitivity >95%), they are more expensive and highly susceptible to cross-contamination.
Methods: A real-time RT-PCR for the detection of EV, HSV1, and HSV2 was compared with end-point nested PCR.
Results: We tested 87 CSF samples of patients with a clinical diagnosis of viral meningitis or encephalitis. Fourteen samples were found to be positive by RT-PCR, but only 8 were positive by end-point PCR. The RT-PCR showed a specificity range of 94-100%, the negative predictive value was 100%, and the positive predictive value was 62, 100, and 28% for HSV1, HSV2, and EV, respectively.
Conclusion: Real-time RT-PCR detected EV, HSV1, and HSV2 with a higher sensitivity and specificity than end-point nested RT-PCR.