Clinical Presentation of Patients with Aseptic Meningitis, Factors Influencing Treatment and Hospitalization, and Consequences of Enterovirus Cerebrospinal Fluid Polymerase Chain Reaction Testing
INTRODUCTION: Clinical and laboratory features of enteroviral meningitis may overlap with those of bacterial meningitis. In the present retrospective review, we compared features of enteroviral (EV)-positive and -negative patients to determine those that were most influential in admission, discharge and in anti-infective administration.METHODS: Data were analyzed from the records of 117 pediatric and adult patients who underwent cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) EV testing over a three-year period.RESULTS: The oldest EV-positive patient was 34 years of age and the occurrence of the disease was highly seasonal. EV-positive patients were more likely to report fever, rash, photophobia, short onset and exposure to an ill contact. A positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result was associated with relatively short hospitalization. Seizure and neurological symptoms were more strongly associated with a negative PCR test result. CSF characteristics did not discriminate well between patients with positive and negative PCR tests. Patients with imperfect Glasgow Coma Scores or with neurological symptoms were more likely to be admitted to hospital than those without. Fever and recent onset predicted determinants of anti-infective use.CONCLUSION: The present retrospective study confirms previous reports regarding seasonality and the young age of positive patients. Factors that indicate nonenteroviral etiology were appropriately also those that influenced hospitalization. Patients with EV meningitis were likely to be treated with empirical anti-infectives, and a substantial proportion continued to take antibiotics for more than 24 h after receiving the positive EV PCR test result.