Specimens from 162 clinically suspected paediatric cases of bacterial meningitis were processed by cell count, Gram stain, culture, latex agglutination and PCR. Bacterial meningitis requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to reduce the development of neurological sequelae and deaths. Meningitis causing bacteria such as Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae type b are among the main causative organisms of bacterial meningitis globally, accounting for 90% of reported cases in infants and children aged >60 days. The infection kills about 1000 people a day and infects about a million people per year on the continue. Neisseria meningitidis is responsible for large epidemics causing thousands of deaths from the 700,000 cases of meningitis reported in these countries.
Haemophilus influenzae type b disease causes 3 million cases of meningitis and severe pneumonia and approximately 386,000 deaths worldwide per year in children aged <5 years. The CSF samples which met the selection criteria were received and processed within 1 hour of reception in the laboratory. The CSF specimens were processed using the Gram stain, cell count, culture and Latex Agglutination. Macroscopic examination to determine the appearance was done. Project approval was obtained from the HCH Ethical committee, Joint Research Ethics committee and the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe.Written consent to perform lumbar puncture was requested from parents by clinicians.