ABSTRACT: Central nervous system involvement is a rare but serious manifestation of brucellosis. We present an unusual case of neurobrucellosis with transient ischemic attack, intracerebral vasculopathy granulomas, seizures, and paralysis of sixth and seventh cranial nerves.
A 17-year-old Caucasian man presented with nausea and vomiting, headache, double vision and he gave a history of weakness in the left arm, speech disturbance and imbalance. Physical examination revealed fever, doubtful neck stiffness and left abducens nerve paralysis. An analysis of his cerebrospinal fluid showed a pleocytosis (lymphocytes, 90%), high protein and low glucose levels. He developed generalized tonic-clonic seizures, facial paralysis and left hemiparesis. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated intracerebral vasculitis, basal ganglia infarction and granulomas, mimicking the central nervous system involvement of tuberculosis. On the 31st day of his admission, neurobrucellosis was diagnosed with immunoglobulin M and immunoglobulin G positivity by standard tube agglutination test and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in both serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples (the tests had been negative until that day). He was treated successfully with trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole, doxycyline and rifampicin for six months.
Our patient illustrates the importance of suspecting brucellosis as a cause of meningoencephalitis, even if cultures and serological tests are negative at the beginning of the disease. As a result, in patients who have a history of residence or travel to endemic areas, neurobrucellosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of any neurologic symptoms. If initial tests fail, repetition of these tests at appropriate intervals along with complementary investigations are indicated.
Journal of Medical Case Reports 10/2010; 4:340.