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different contents - (Italiano
A new diagnostic test detects meningococcal disease within an hour
Meningococcal disease is notoriously difficult to
diagnose as initial symptoms mimic those of common
colds: a new diagnostic test detects meningococcal
disease within an hour.
Meningitis and Meningococcal septicaemia
(Meningococcal Disease) is caused by a deadly
bacteria that can kill in hours.
Researchers at Queen’s University and The Belfast
Trust are working to improve testing to prevent
unnecessary deaths while at the same time reducing
the number of children treated unnecessarily ‘just
Time is of the essence when it comes to treating
meningitis, making it vital to treat it as early as
Most people make a good recovery if treated early
enough but without treatment, many will die.
Meningococcal disease can be difficult to detect,
with many patients only identified as infected when
a visible rash develops, which is often too late.
Furthermore, the NHS gold standard test (blood
cultures) for detecting meningococcal disease can
take up to 48 hours for results to come back.
It is estimated that 50% of patients who turn out to
have meningococcal disease have been falsely
reassured in the previous 12-24 hours by their
doctor and are sent home given the all-clear though
they may in fact be infected.
For those patients who are sent to hospital, they
will be offered treatment before doctors can
officially diagnose whether they are infected.
Because the early stages of meningococcal disease
are notoriously difficult to diagnose, doctors in
the UK tend to err on the side of caution resulting
in the majority of suspected cases receiving
Professor Mike Shields, Clinical Professor at
Queen’s University Belfast and Consultant
Paediatrician at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick
Children said: “If we suspect a child may have
meningococcal septicaemia, we will administer
antibiotic treatment straight away. If we wait a few
days for the test results to confirm, it may be too
late and we risk losing the child.”
A study led by Queen’s University Belfast and The
Belfast Trust found that out of the 105 babies and
children treated for suspected Meningococcal
Septicaemia, only one third were later found to be
infected meaning two thirds received treatment
Throughout the two year study, researchers tested
patients using both the standard NHS and the LAMP
The LAMP test proved to be as efficient as the
standard test in returning accurate diagnosis though
in a fraction of the time. Hibergene Diagnostics
have now developed the LAMP test for commercial use.
Although research has proven the LAMP test’s
accuracy, further research is required to
demonstrate the practicality of testing being
undertaken by a clinician in a hospital environment.
The two year research study, launching in September
will involve clinicians in the Royal Belfast
Hospital for Sick Children using the Hibergene LAMP
test in the emergency department to test suspected
cases of meningitis.
If rolled out across the UK, the test could not only
prevent children being admitted for treatment for
meningococcal disease unnecessarily, but it could
also stop children being wrongly sent home,
potentially saving dozens of lives every year.
For more information
Queen's University Belfast Link...