PLoS One 2019 17;14(1):e0210812. Epub 2019 Jan 17.
Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana.
Bacterial meningitis is a public health crisis in the northern part of Ghana, where it contributes to very high mortality and morbidity rates. Early detection of the causative organism will lead to better management and effective treatment. Our aim was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of Pastorex and Wellcogen latex agglutination tests for the detection of bacterial meningitis in a resource-limited setting. CSF samples from 330 suspected meningitis patients within the northern zone of Ghana were analysed for bacterial agents at the zonal Public Health Reference Laboratory in Tamale using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and two latex agglutination test kits; Pastorex and Wellcogen. The overall positivity rate of samples tested for bacterial meningitis was 46.4%. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis within the sub-region, with positivity rate of 25.2%, 28.2% and 28.8% when diagnosed using Wellcogen, Pastorex and PCR respectively. The Pastorex method was 97.4% sensitive while the Wellcogen technique was 87.6% sensitive. Both techniques however produced the same specificity of 99.4%. Our study revealed that the Pastorex method has a better diagnostic value for bacterial meningitis than the Wellcogen method and should be the method of choice in the absence of PCR.