Meningitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms, but also excessive activation of the immune system as seen in auto-immune diseases can be identified as the cause . During the last two decades the spectrum of bacteria causing meningitis during childhood has substantially changed due to the introduction of vaccinations. Furthermore, diagnostic methods have improved and new viruses were discovered that can cause meningitis. Because of these changes, we are currently able to identify the cause of meningitis in the majority of cases. However, in a substantial number of the patients (~30%) the cause is still unknown.
Aim of the study
To primary aim of the PACEM study is to determine the causes of meningitis and/or encephalitis in children and adults. Furthermore, the study aims to evaluate the clinical signs and symptoms and CSF laboratory characteristics of children and adults with a diagnosis of meningitis and/or encephalitis.
How is the study designed?
All patients in whom meningitis is suspected who receive a lumbar puncture can be included. After informed consent is given by the patients or his/her representative/caregivers the leftover cerebrospinal fluid derived from th diagnostic puncture will be stored and later tested for an extensive panel of known and unknown viruses. Furthermore, additional material (faeces, blood, and throat swab) will be stored and later tested for the presence of (new) viruses. Clinical data wil be stored in a online clinical database.
Are there additional risks if you participate in the study?
When informed consent is given (by the parents of the patient) the cerebrospinal fluid will stored fro further testing. No additional lumbar punctureis required for study purposesIf possible the blood withdrawal (maximum of 10 milliliters) is combined with a blood withdrawal for diagnostic purposes to prevent extra punctures.