To enhance the detection of bacterial meningitis in an East Asian surveillance study, we employed cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) bacterial culture, latex agglutination (LA) and polymerase chain reaction-enzyme immunoassay (PCR-EIA) testing for Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (Sp). The sensitivity and specificity of CSF PCR-EIA testing was compared to LA and culture. A meningitis case was defined by one positive result for any of the three tests. The sensitivity of H. influenzae CSF PCR-EIA, LA, and culture was 100%, 40% and 57.5% respectively; and for Sp CSF PCR-EIA, LA and culture, the sensitivity was 100%, 58.3% and 66.7%, respectively. Hib and Sp specificity was 100% by each method. CSF PCR-EIA was more sensitive than culture or LA for the detection of Hib and Sp meningitis cases increasing their incidence by 74% and 50% compared to culture respectively. CSF PCR-EIA should be included for the detection of bacterial meningitis in surveillance studies.