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close this bookBasic Laboratory Procedures in Clinical Bacteriology (WHO; 1991; 128 pages)
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
open this folder and view contentsQuality assurance in microbiology
close this folderPart I. Bacteriological investigations
open this folder and view contentsBlood
close this folderCerebrospinal fluid
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentCollection and transportation of specimens
View the documentMacroscopic inspection
View the documentMicroscopic examination
View the documentPreliminary identification
View the documentSusceptibility testing
open this folder and view contentsUrine
open this folder and view contentsStool
open this folder and view contentsLower respiratory tract infections
open this folder and view contentsUpper respiratory tract infections
open this folder and view contentsSexually transmitted diseases
open this folder and view contentsPurulent exudates, wounds, and abscesses
open this folder and view contentsAnaerobic bacteriology
open this folder and view contentsAntimicrobial susceptibility testing
open this folder and view contentsPart II. Essential media and reagents for isolation and identification of clinical pathogens
View the documentSelected further reading
View the documentSelected WHO publications of related interest
View the documentBack Cover
 

Introduction

The examination of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is an essential step in the diagnosis of bacterial and fungal meningitis and CSF must always be considered as a priority specimen that requires prompt attention by the laboratory staff.

Normal CSF is sterile and clear, and usually contains three leukocytes or fewer per mm3 and no red blood cells. The chemical and cytological composition of CSF is modified by meningeal or cerebral inflammation, i.e., meningitis or encephalitis. Only the microbiological examination of CSF will be discussed here, although the CSF leukocyte count is also of paramount importance.

The most important causal agents of meningitis are listed in Table 5 according to age of the patient, but it should be kept in mind that some overlap exists.

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