Computational protocol: Infectious Causes of Encephalitis and Meningoencephalitis in Thailand, 2003–2005

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Protocol publication

[…] Definitions were created to define the etiologic link between identified pathogens and encephalitis; the etiology for each case was classified as confirmed, probable, possible, or unknown (). Each case could be assigned >1 etiology. The classification system considered the nature of an agent (well-established cause of encephalitis or not) and etiologic significance of a given positive laboratory test result.Etiology was considered confirmed for cases with positive results for PCR, culture, antigen, or pathogen-specific IgM in CSF for a pathogen considered to be a well-established cause of encephalitis. For arboviruses commonly associated with encephalitis (i.e., JEV or West Nile virus), documentation of acute infection in paired serum samples was considered the diagnostic standard and therefore was considered confirmatory. Etiology was considered probable for cases with positive results that were strongly suggestive but not considered confirmatory and not clearly established as diagnostic for encephalitis in all situations or cases for which a pathogen not generally established as a cause of encephalitis was detected in CSF. For example, etiology would be considered probable if PCR of CSF was positive for lymphotropic agents (e.g., cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus [EBV]) or if serum testing results provided evidence of acute infection for pathogens known to be associated with encephalitis, such as Orientia tsutsugamushi, Bartonella henselae, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Etiology was considered possible for cases with no laboratory evidence of CNS involvement but some evidence of acute infection that suggested a potential etiologic role in encephalitis, such as a >4-fold rise in antibody titer for enteroviruses or an oropharyngeal swab sample positive for influenza or parainfluenza viruses. In addition, etiology was considered possible for cases for which information to determine etiology of encephalitis (e.g., human adenoviruses 40 and 41) was insufficient, even if detected in CSF (). Etiology was considered unknown for cases for which all testing results were negative.In an effort to differentiate between cases of encephalitis and meningoencephalitis, we defined a subset of patients who met the case definition and specifically had CSF pleocytosis and stiff neck as having meningoencephalitis. To provide a complete description of all patients who met the case definition, we retained the 8 patients for whom a sole confirmed bacterial agent commonly associated with bacterial meningitis was found. Pertinent analyses were performed with and without these 8 patients. For 1 patient for whom a bacterial etiology was confirmed, a viral etiology (JEV) was also confirmed; thus, this patient was not excluded from either analysis. [...] We present descriptive data with case counts and frequencies. We used the Wilcoxon rank-sum test to compare continuous variables between the confirmed/probable and possible/unknown etiologic groups. The prevalence of categorical variables was compared by using χ2 analysis or the Fisher exact test. We considered 2-sided p values <0.05 to be statistically significant. Statistical analyses were performed by using SPSS Statistics for Windows version 21.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). […]

Pipeline specifications

Software tools CNS, SPSS
Applications Miscellaneous, Protein structure analysis
Organisms Homo sapiens, Japanese encephalitis virus, Orientia tsutsugamushi, Bartonella henselae
Diseases Brain Diseases, Encephalitis, Malaria, Meningoencephalitis, Nervous System Diseases, Chikungunya Fever