Without early recognition and treatment, neonatal meningitis (NM) has a high mortality and morbidity. Although some neonates have features of NM, many do not. In many low-resource settings, the laboratory support to diagnose NM is not available, and bedside diagnostics are needed.


This retrospective study was conducted in a neonatal unit in Uganda. Clear cerebrospinal fluid samples were routinely screened for glucose, protein and leukocytes on a Combur®-10 urinalysis reagent strip. A definitive diagnosis was made using laboratory analysis. The results of the screening and definitive tests were compared.


The reagent strip showed moderate sensitivity and high specificity for leukocytes ≥10×106 cells/l, high sensitivity for protein ≥100 mg/dl and high specificity for glucose <50 mg/dl.


The use of reagent strips has the potential to improve and hasten the diagnosis of probable NM in settings where adequate or timely laboratory support is not available.

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