A low-density, high-resolution diagnostic DNA microarray comprising 38 gene targets for 13 viral causes of meningitis and encephalitis was constructed. The array has been used for the detection of multiplex PCR-amplified viruses in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and non-CSF specimens. A total of 41 clinical specimens were positive for echoviruses (23 samples), herpes simplex virus type 2 (4 samples), varicella-zoster virus (4 samples), human herpesvirus 7 (1 sample), human herpesvirus 6A (1 sample) and 6B (2 samples), Epstein-Barr virus (three samples), polyomavirus JC (1 sample), and cytomegalovirus (2 samples). Probes for herpes simplex virus type 1, polyomavirus BK, and mumps and measles viruses were also included on the array. Three samples were false negative by the microarray assay due to discordant results between the multiplex PCR for all 13 viruses simultaneously and the virus-specific PCR alone. Fifteen CSF specimens were true negative. The clinical sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values of the assay were 93, 100, 100, and 83%, respectively, when the results were compared to those of the single-virus PCR, which was used as the "gold standard." The microarray-based virus detection assay is qualitative and provides a single-format diagnostic tool for the detection of panviral CNS infections.