PCR-based Assay for the Direct Detection of Enterovirus in Cerebrospinal Fluid

The Molecular Pathology Laboratory has recently implemented a PCR-based assay for the direct detection of Enterovirus in cerebrospinal fluid.  This assay has been validated only for CSF specimens.  The test will be performed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Specimens received by 11:00 will be resulted by 4:30 pm the same day.  Please check the box on the microbiology requisition labeled "Enterovirus PCR (CSF)" if you are interested in this assay being performed.

The Enterovirus PCR assay is much more sensitive than traditional virus culture and provides results days sooner.  In view of the availability of this assay, there is no need to perform viral cultures on CSF patients suspected of having enteroviral meningitis unless you are specifically interested in which enterovirus type and/or serotype is responsible for disease.  In this case, both culture and PCR should be performed. Clinical settings in which CNS infection due to HSV is suspected are also settings in which Enterovirus may be considered.  The Enterovirus PCR assay can be performed simultaneously with our HSV PCR assay on the same CSF specimen.  In such cases, please check both the HSV and Enterovirus PCR boxes on the requisition.

If you have any questions or comments about any of this, please contact Dr. Gary Doern, Director, Clinical Microbiology Laboratories (6-8616) or Ms. Beth Alden, Supervisor, Molecular Pathology Laboratory (4-9870).  Thank you.