Evaluation of the Roche AMPLICOR enterovirus PCR assay in the diagnosis of enteroviral central nervous system infections

Karen C. Carroll, Bill Taggart, John Robison, Carrie Byington, David Hillyard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Enteroviruses cause a substantial number of cases of aseptic meningitis annually in the USA. While culture has been useful in the detection of patients with viral meningitis it is time-consuming and lacks sensitivity. Detection of viral nucleic acid in patient specimens has been demonstrated to improve enteroviral detection. Objectives: A research use only commercial amplification assay, the Roche AMPLICOR EV test, was compared to culture for the diagnosis of enteroviral meningoencephalitis. Study Design: Four-hundred and sixty-five consecutive CSF samples sent prospectively for suspicion of enteroviral infection were evaluated by PCR and shell-vial culture. Clinical information and CSF analysis were used to resolve PCR positive, culture negative samples. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated using resolved data. Results: There were 138 samples which met the definition of a true positive. Of these culture detected 77 (sensitivity 55.8%) and PCR detected 136 (sensitivity 98.6%). PCR missed two culture positive samples. Upon repeat testing, these CSF samples were found to contain inhibitors. Conclusions: The Roche AMPLICOR EV-PCR test was statistically more sensitive than culture (P<0.001) in the detection of enteroviruses in CSF in patients suspected of having enteroviral meningitis. This assay also has the advantage of a rapid turnaround time of 5-6 h compared to 3-5 days for culture. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Enteroviruses
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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