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Mammalian reoviruses are non-enveloped viruses that contain a segmented, double-stranded RNA genome. Reoviruses infect most mammalian species, although infection with these viruses in humans is usually asymptomatic. We report the isolation of a novel reovirus strain from a 6.5-week-old child with meningitis. Hemagglutination and neutralization assays indicated that the isolate is a serotype 3 strain, leading to the designation T3/Human/Colorado/1996 (T3C/96). Sequence analysis of the T3C/96 S1 gene segment, which encodes the viral attachment protein, sigma 1, confirmed the serotype assignment for this strain and indicated that T3C/96 is a novel reovirus isolate. T3C/96 is capable of systemic spread in newborn mice after peroral inoculation and produces lethal encephalitis. These results suggest that serotype 3 reoviruses can cause meningitis in humans.
We analyzed data from the records of 422 patients with acute bacterial or viral meningitis. A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glucose level less than 1.9 mmol/L, a CSF-blood glucose ratio less than 0.23, a CSF protein level greater than 2.2 g/L, more than 2000 x 10(6)/L CSF leukocytes, or more than 1180 x 10(6)/L CSF polymorphonuclear leukocytes were individual predictors of bacterial infection with 99% certainty or better. Although any one of these tests could rule in bacterial meningitis with high probability, none could rule it out. To better predict whether a patient has bacterial vs viral infection, we developed a logistic multiple regression model using CSF-blood glucose ratio, total polymorphonuclear leukocyte count in CSF, age, and month of onset. This proved highly reliable when validated in an independent test sample, with an area under receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.97. The model should allow physicians to differentiate between acute viral and acute bacterial meningitis with greater accuracy.