GHD/EMPHNET Supports Training on Hospital-Based Surveillance of Meningococcal Meningitis for Iraq
GHD/EMPHNET supported a training on the identification and subtyping of N. meningitidis using the molecular test of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The training took place at the Center for Infectious Diseases Research of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, between February 19-22, 2018. Its targeted participants were five laboratorians from the Central Public Health Laboratory in Baghdad.
For Iraq’s laboratory capacity, this training served to meet the need to provide, through PCR testing, up-to-date molecular characteristics of meningococcal disease caused by N. meningitidis. With this data, more effective preventive measures can be developed within the national vaccination program.
Because of its high sensitivity and specificity and high throughput capabilities, PCR is now widely used in the diagnosis and surveillance of bacterial pathogens. Moreover, it provides a complementary tool to classic phenotype-based methods.
In the training’s lectures, the following topics were covered: the epidemiology of meningitis at global and regional levels; molecular techniques for detection and subtyping of N. meningitidis; PCR equipment, primers, probes, controls and calibration; DNA extraction protocols; specimen collection and preservation; real time PCR and N. meningitidis detection and subtyping; results interpretation and troubleshooting.
A practical laboratory session was conducted, and the trainees had the opportunity to practice bacterial DNA extraction and Real Time PCR technique for the detection and subtyping of N. meningitidis.