Meningococcal PCR




  • May be used for the diagnosis of meningococcal infection from CSF or blood
  • Blood should only be tested when meningococcal infection is a likely diagnosis
  • All cases of suspected invasive meningococcal disease should have blood cultures taken
  • For retrospective diagnosis of meningococcal disease a meningococcal antibody test may be of value
  • Invasive meningococcal disease is a notifiable disease. Click for notification form.

Sample requirements


This will be performed on selected CSF samples sent for microscopy and culture.

See Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

A minimum CSF volume of 400 µl is required for reliable testing.


Plasma (preferred) or serum - paired samples not required

4ml of blood taken into an EDTA Tube




For babies and small children a minimum of one full 2mL paediatric EDTA or one full paediatric Mini Collect EDTA tube is required






4 mL EDTA tube



2 mL paediatric EDTA tube

Paediatric Mini Collect EDTA tube

Required information

  • Relevant clinical details
  • Date of onset
  • Length of history
  • Prior administration of antibiotics
  • Contact with other suspected cases
  • Vaccination history


CSF samples must be transported immediately to the laboratory

Please inform the laboratory when CSF samples are collected

Store blood samples at fridge temperature and transport as soon as possible at ambient temperature

Turnaround time

Sent to the National Reference Centre

Up to 7 days

Page last reviewed: 13/12/2017