New Test May Help Check Meningitis

New Test May Help Check MeningitisNew Test May Help Check Meningitis

A test has been developed that could help diagnose bacterial infections including meningitis in minutes.

It could save lives by allowing treatment of the disease, difficult to diagnose, to start much sooner, said an international team of researchers led by Imperial College London.

Currently the only test available for meningitis, whose symptoms include a high fever, headaches and vomiting, is expensive and takes more than 48 hours. The study, led by Professor Michael Levin, a pediatrician, shows that bacterial infections can be distinguished from other causes of fever.  “We would very much hope this could become something cheap enough to be applied even in resource poor regions,” Levin told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Researchers said a cheap pin-prick blood test able to accurately identify bacterial infections in less than one hour could be developed within five years.  Meningitis is common across Africa’s so-called “meningitis belt” from Senegal to Ethiopia.