Meningitis is a serious inflammatory disease caused by various pathogens, including the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis (N. meningitidis) or meningococcus.
Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis are easily confused with those caused by other pathogens, especially viral ones. The most common symptoms are fever, fatigue, confusion, headaches, vomitings, stiff neck. Suspected meningitis is a medical emergency. Indeed, meningococcal infection can progress rapidly and cause long term sequelae if it is not treated at an early stage. With a risk of mortality approaching 15% within 12 hours of infection, it is essential to carry out a biological diagnosis as quickly as possible in order to implement appropriate treatment and prophylaxis.
Meningococcus is spread through saliva and secretions. Pathogenic strains are classified according to the antigenic structure of their polysaccharide capsule. Of the identified capsular types of N. meningitidis, six (A, B, C, W, X, and Y) account for most cases of meningococcal meningitis worldwide. This disease is present worldwide in epidemic and/or endemic forms. It causes annual epidemics, mainly in countries of the African meningitis belt.
Laboratory diagnosis of N. meningitidis infection can be made by bacterial culture or by PCR testing in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected by lumbar puncture. Meningococcus is a bacterium whose culture on petri dishes is exigent. Bacterial isolation requires 48 to 72 hours but can fail either because antibiotics have been administered preemptively or because sample transport has been performed improperly. Serogrouping of meningococci is carried out either by agglutination or by PCR tests. Diagnosis by PCR requires a specific laboratory environment and equipment, cold chain and qualified health personnel.
MeningoSpeed™ (BSD_0200) is an immunochromatographic rapid diagnostic test for the detection of Neisseria meningitidis specific antigens for serogroups A, C, W, X and Y in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens. It is intended for use by healthcare professionals only.
This test, initially developed by the Institut Pasteur, is sensitive and specific and is intended to be used as an aid in the diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis. It has been adapted for pediatric sample volume, but can also be used in adults.
MeningoSpeed™ has been evaluated by several studies including an independent study by the World Health Organization.
Haddar et al. : Validation of a New Rapid Detection Test for Detection of Neisseria meningitidis A/C/W/X/Y Antigens in Cerebrospinal Fluid, J. Clin Microbiol 2020 — https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/JCM.01699-19
Rondy et al. : Field Evaluation of the Performance of Two Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Meningitis in Niger and Burkina Faso, Microorganisms 2021 — https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9040832