Background and purpose: Encephalitis caused by Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) is rare but sometimes fatal. Early diagnosis is difficult using routine cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tests, while next-generation sequencing (NGS) is increasingly being used for the detection and characterization of pathogens.
Methods: This study set up and applied unbiased NGS to detect L. monocytogenes in CSF collected from three cases of clinically suspected listeria meningoencephalitis.
Results: Three cases of patients with acute/subacute meningoencephalitis are reported. Magnetic resonance imaging and blood cultures led to a suspected diagnosis of L. monocytogenes, while the CSF cultures were negative. Unbiased NGS of CSF identified and sequenced reads corresponding to L. monocytogenes in all three cases.
Conclusions: This is the first report highlighting the feasibility of applying NGS of CSF as a diagnostic method for central nervous system (CNS) L. monocytogenes infection. Routine application of this technology in clinical microbiology will significantly improve diagnostic methods for CNS infectious diseases.
Keywords: Listeria monocytogenes; cerebrospinal fluid; meningoencephalitis; next generation sequencing.