Evaluation of the BioFire FilmArray meningitis/encephalitis panel for the detection of bacteria and yeast in Chinese children

Bailu Du, Chunzhen Hua, Yijun Xia, Jin Li, Yongping Xie, Yue Tao, Qing Cao, Xi Mo


Background: Meningitis and encephalitis are life-threatening syndromes with high morbidity and mortality in children. Due to limitations of traditional laboratory approaches in etiological diagnosis, the rate of misdiagnoses is unacceptably high.
Methods: We retrospectively compared the potential clinical impact of the FilmArray meningitis/encephalitis (ME) panel vs. conventional cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture in children with central nervous system (CNS) infections. Sixty-eight pediatric patients (<18 years of age) with an initial diagnosis of meningitis or encephalitis were enrolled at 2 children’s hospital from January to October 2017.
Results: Fifteen specimens were found to be positive after CSF culture, with a positive rate of 22.1% (15/68). For the FilmArray ME panel, 26 bacteria and fungi from 25 samples were detected, and the positive rate was 36.8% (25/68). The FilmArray ME panel identified 14 pathogens in previously pathogen-negative patients.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated the capability of the FilmArray ME panel in the diagnosis of bacterial and fungal meningitis and therefore its potential use in facilitating enhanced patient care.