A new silver-nano-particle and laser-based test has been developed by scientists at University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK) for the rapid diagnosis of bacterial meningitis. The test uses nanoparticles and lasers to fingerprint more than one bacterium at a time as quickly as possible, making it easier to treat.
The new process is called Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS). It scatters laser light from a sample that has been combined with silver nanoparticles.
The great advantage of the SERS technique is that it gives sharp, recognisable signals and with other diagnostic methods it can measure the amount of bacteria in a sample whilst simultaneously identifying the bacteria.
Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation’s proximity to the brain and spinal cord.
The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, etc. Children often exhibit only nonspecific symptoms, such as irritability and drowsiness. Meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied by a characteristic rash.