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Determining the etiological basis of central nervous system (CNS) infections is inherently challenging, primarily due to the multi-etiological nature. Using RNA sequencing, we aimed to identify microbes present in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of two patients suffering CNS infection, previously diagnosed with Cryptococcus sp. and Streptococcus pneumoniae infection, respectively. After meta-transcriptomic analysis, and confirmation with real-time PCR, hepatitis B virus (HBV) was detected in the CSF of two patients diagnosed with CNS syndrome. Phylogenetic analysis of the partial HBV genomes from these patients showed that they belonged to genotypes B and C and clustered with other viruses of Asian origin. In countries with high levels of HBV endemicity, the virus is likely to be found in patients diagnosed with CNS infections, although whether it contributes to symptoms and pathology, or is simply a coincidental infection, is unknown and merits further investigation.

Original publication




Journal article


Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis

Publication Date



Cerebrospinal fluid, Encephalitis, Hepatitis B virus, Meta-transcriptomics, RNA sequencing