Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, while encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue itself.
The inflammation most commonly results from an infection caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus, and parasites.
The healthcare challenge
- More than 1.2 million people every year are affected by meningitis worldwide, resulting in 170,000 deaths globally from bacterial meningitis, the most severe and common form1.
- Bacterial meningitis can occur suddenly in healthy people and even with prompt diagnosis and treatment, approximately 10-20% of patients may die within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, and up to 30% may sustain permanent damage and disability.
- Infants and children under five years old and adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age are most at risk. But anyone in the world can get meningitis at any time.
The role of diagnostics
Meningitis often affects healthy people, but environmental factors and immunocompromised conditions (due, for example, to HIV or chemotherapy) are significant risks.
The disease can be hard to recognize in the early stages. Symptoms can be similar to those of the common flu, including: fever, rash, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, and drowsiness. Therefore, rapid identification of the causative agents is not possible based on clinical indications alone., 
Rapid diagnosis is critical to patient outcomes, as symptoms can appear suddenly and escalate quickly to brain damage, hearing and/or speech loss, blindness, or even death.
The BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® Meningitis-Encephalitis (ME) Panel is a rapid molecular test that allows, in about one hour, the identification of the 14 most common pathogens (6 bacteria, 7 viruses and 1 yeast) responsible for community acquired meningitis or encephalitis.
This panel is the first to address the critical unmet need for quick and accurate identification of central nervous system infectious agents.
The BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® Meningitis-Encephalitis Panel quickly provides multiple results to the physicians and significantly reduces the time to appropriate treatment, thus decreasing the duration of the stay and the severity of the disease.
 http://www.comomeningitis.org/facts-about-meningitis/ ; accessed October 7, 2017
 Bamberger DM. Am Fam Physician. 2010;82:1491-1498.
 NINDS. Meningitis and Encephalitis Fact Sheet. Updated November 24, 2014. Accessed January 6, 2015.