Professor Tania Sorrell and her team at Westmead Millennium Institute have discovered a quick and effective diagnostic for identifying bacterial meningitis using metabonomics.
Researchers in this study compared the metabolic fingerprints of spinal fluid from patients who presented with meningitis-like symptoms at Westmead Hospital.
They found that those with bacterial meningitis could be easily and accurately differentiated from those with non-infected fluid, and even from viral meningitis.
"When diagnosing bacterial brain infections, accuracy and speed are vitally important," says chief investigator Professor Tania Sorrell.
"Bacterial meningitis can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in young children, and this method will lead to faster and more targeted treatment meaning better outcomes."
Whilst this diagnostic is ready for the pathology lab, most hospitals do not yet possess the technology required.
As technology advances however, and hospitals obtain powerful equipment, the diagnosis and treatment of bacterial meningitis will become faster and effective.
This research will be published this month in the international journal Clinical Infection and Disease.