What is the role of lumbar puncture in the workup of West Nile virus (WNV) infection and encephalitis (WNE)?

Updated: Apr 05, 2021
  • Author: David J Cennimo, MD, FAAP, FACP, AAHIVS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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CSF reveals mild to moderate pleocytosis with a lymphocytic predominance in WNE. [19, 30] CSF protein levels are variably elevated, and the CSF glucose level is not decreased.

The CSF lactic acid level is not elevated, and RBCs, excluding traumatic taps, are not present in WNE. CSF Gram stain and bacterial culture findings are negative.

CSF testing for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies against West Nile virus (WNV) should be performed (in addition to testing of the patient’s serum).

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