Document Type


Publication Date



This article is the author's final published version in BMC Infectious Diseases, Volume 23, Issue 1, 2023, Article number 641.

The published version is available at

Copyright © The Author(s) 2023.

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


BACKGROUND: Diagnosis of bacterial meningitis remains a challenge in most developing countries due to low yield from bacterial culture, widespread use of non-prescription antibiotics, and weak microbiology laboratories. The objective of this study was to compare the yield from standard bacterial culture with the multiplex nested PCR platform, the BioFire® FilmArray® Meningitis/Encephalitis Panel (BioFire ME Panel), for cases with suspected acute bacterial meningitis.

METHODS: Following Gram stain and bacterial culture on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected from children aged less than 5 years with a clinical suspicion of acute bacterial meningitis (ABM) as defined by the WHO guidelines, residual CSF specimens were frozen and later tested by BioFire ME Panel.

RESULTS: A total of 400 samples were analyzed. Thirty-two [32/400 (8%)] of the specimens were culture positive, consisting of; three Salmonella spp. (2 Typhi and 1 non-typhi), three alpha hemolytic Streptococcus, one Staphylococcus aureus, six Neisseria meningitidis, seven Hemophilus influenzae, 11 Streptococcus pneumoniae and 368 were culture negative. Of the 368 culture-negative specimens, the BioFire ME Panel detected at least one bacterial pathogen in 90 (24.5%) samples, consisting of S. pneumoniae, N. meningitidis and H. influenzae, predominantly. All culture positive specimens for H. influenzae, N. meningitidis and S. pneumoniae also tested positive with the BioFire ME Panel. In addition, 12 specimens had mixed bacterial pathogens identified. For the first time in this setting, we have data on the viral agents associated with meningitis. Single viral agents were detected in 11 (2.8%) samples while co-detections with bacterial agents or other viruses occurred in 23 (5.8%) of the samples.

CONCLUSIONS: The BioFire® ME Panel was more sensitive and rapid than culture for detecting bacterial pathogens in CSF. The BioFire® ME Panel also provided for the first time, the diagnosis of viral etiologic agents that are associated with meningoencephalitis in this setting. Institution of PCR diagnostics is recommended as a routine test for suspected cases of ABM to enhance early diagnosis and optimal treatment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

PubMed ID






To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.