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 I-PACE study is to determine the causes of meningitis and/or encephalitis. Furthermore, the study aims to evaluate the clinical signs and symptoms and CSF laboratory characteristics of patients 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 patient or his/her representative/caregivers the leftover cerebrospinal fluid derived from the 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 an online clinical database.
Are there additional risks if you participate in the study?
When informed consent is given the cerebrospinal fluid will stored for further testing. No additional lumbar puncture is required for study purposes. If possible the blood withdrawal (maximum of 10 milliliters) is combined with a blood withdrawal for diagnostic purposes to prevent extra punctures.