Meningococcal antigen in diagnosis and treatment of group A meningococcal infections.
Whittle HC., Greenwood BM., Davidson N., Tomkins A., Tugwell P., Warrell DA., Zalin A., BRYCESON AD., Parry EH., Brueton M., Duggan M., Oomen JM., Rajkovic AD.
Meningococcal antigen was measured by countercurrent immunoelectrophoresis in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of 200 patients with group A meningococcal meningitis. Antigen was detected in the blood of 27 (13.5 per cent) patients. These patients had a worse prognosis and a higher incidence of allergic complications, such as arthritis and vasculitis, about 5 days after the start of antibiotic treatment. Antigen was found in the CSF of 129 (67.5 per cent) patients); antigen often persisted in the cerebrospinal fluid despite antibiotic treatment before admission. A combination of immunoelectrophoresis and routine bacteriologic study was used in the diagnosis of 162 (84.8 per cent) patients with meningococcal meningitis. High levels of antigen and a slow antigen disappearance were associated with neurologic damage. The antigen is stable and may be detected from specimens of cerebrospinal fluid dried on filter paper.