The Diagnostic Utility of Bact/ALERT and Nested PCR in the Diagnosis of Tuberculous Meningitis 74-78
Dr. Apurba Sankar Sastry,
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology,
Meenakshi Medical College and Research Institute,
Kanchipuram, Near Chennai, India.
Objective: The early laboratory diagnosis of Tuberculous Meningitis (TBM) is crucial, to start the antitubercular chemotherapy and to prevent its complications. However, the conventional methods are either less sensitive or time consuming. Hence, the diagnostic potentials of BacT/ALERT and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was evaluated in this study.
Material and Method: The study group comprised of 62 cases and 33 controls. The cases were divided according to Ahujaâ€™s criteria into the confirmed (two cases), highly probable (19 cases), probable (26 cases) and the possible (15 cases) subgroups. Ziehl Neelsenâ€™s (ZN) and Auramine Phenol (AP) staining, Lowenstein Jensen (LJ) medium culture, BacT/ALERT and nested Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which targeted IS6110 were carried out on all the patients.
Observation and Results: The sensitivity of the LJ culture was 3.22%. BacT/ALERT showed a sensitivity and a specificity of 25.80% and 100% and those of nested PCR were found to be 40.32% and 96.97% respectively. The mean detection time of growth of the LJ culture was 31.28 days, whereas that of BacT/ALERT was 20.68 days. The contamination rate in the LJ culture and BacT/ALERT were 7.2% and 5.8% respectively.
Conclusion: Nested PCR was found to be more sensitive, followed by BacT/ALERT as compared to the LJ culture and smear microscopy. As both false negative and false positive results have been reported for nested PCR, so it should not be used alone as a criterion for initiating or terminating the therapy, but it should be supported by clinical, radiological, cytological and other microbiological findings.