PCR protocols are increasingly used in laboratories worldwide for the diagnosis and confirmation of invasive meningococcal infection. Protocols are now available for the identification of Neisseria meningitidis, for genogrouping, susceptibility to antibiotics and genotyping of the corresponding isolates. The implementation of quality assurance (QA) schemes and standardization of protocols are required. Diagnostic and confirmatory PCRs should perform consistently in clinical and reference microbiology laboratories. General QA schemes address the issues of sample preparation, PCR laboratory environment, equipment and validation of protocols. Moreover, external QA interlaboratory studies are essential. The European Monitoring Group on Meningococci has provided a good forum to conduct such studies through the development and distribution of samples and protocols for nonculture detection and typing of N. meningitidis.
- Quality assurance