Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain itself. Anyone can get meningitis or encephalitis and causes include viruses, bacteria, fungus, and parasites. There are a number of diagnostic challenges for identification of patients with meningitis/encephalitis and there have been changes in the epidemiology in recent years. This presentation will review the different etiological agents that cause meningitis and encephalitis as well as provide an overview of the current tools available for diagnosis.
At the conclusion of the presentation, attendees will be able to:
- Describe the difference between meningitis and encephalitis and the challenges with diagnosis.
- Describe the most common causes of meningitis and encephalitis.
- Describe the diagnostic tools used to diagnose meningitis and encephalitis.
CE Units available through Labroots for 6 months after the live event.
Bordetella pertussis and B. parapertussis are Gram negative bacteria that cause highly contagious respiratory infections. Laboratory diagnosis of B. pertussis and B. parapertussis infections has historically relied on methods such as conventional culture, serology or direct fluorescent antibody testing; all of which are insensitive and time-consuming. Current molecular methods have improved to allow for direct testing of nasopharyngeal specimens in a rapid manner, which is important for prompt institution of antimicrobial therapy, infection control measures and public health reporting. Rapid molecular testing results with Simplexa Bordetella Direct will be presented.
Varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes primary chickenpox infection as well as neurologic conditions, including encephalitis and meningitis. This workshop will cover laboratory testing for VZV focusing on central nervous system infections. Clinical study results will also be presented for DiaSorin Molecular’s Simplexa™ VZV Direct assay that detects VZV from CSF samples without extraction in about an hour.
Ticks are currently considered to be second only to mosquitoes as vectors of human infectious diseases in the world. Each tick species has preferred environmental conditions and habitat that determine the geographic distribution of the ticks and, consequently, the risk areas for tick-borne diseases. Tick-borne diseases are becoming more frequently diagnosed as the cause of human infections as animal reservoirs and tick vectors have increased in numbers and humans have inhabited areas where reservoir and tick populations are high.
Ticks may become infected and harbor one or more disease-causing agents (e.g. bacteria, viruses, or parasites) and coinfection can also occur, compounding the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment. Co-infections often prove to cause worse symptoms than a single infection alone. In most cases, patients present severe atypical clinical manifestations, wider range of secondary symptoms, and longer recovery. Co-infections can be challenging to diagnose, as clinical features of tick-borne diseases often overlap. Identifying and treating polymicrobial infections are critical as morbidity and mortality increases substantially if there are delays in diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Livia Berlinger earned a PhD in Biology from the University of Zurich. She is a member of the Swiss Scientific Society of Infectious Diseases and has served as the head of Molecular Diagnostics for Bioanalytica AG in Luzern since 2014.
Bioanalytica represents a laboratory network serving public and private Hospitals since 1957 and has a strong presence in Switzerland. Bioanalytica provides consistent high-quality diagnostics at a national level thanks to a unified effort of more than forty clinicians, biologists and pharmacologists. In her role, Dr. Berlinger manages infectious diseases diagnostics to ensure continuous technological advancement, both in microbiology and virology.
In this seminar, Dr. Berlinger will present an overview of the challenges associated with Bordetella infection, with a specific focus on molecular diagnostics.
Recorded October 2018. Made available in April 2019.