Laura B. Youngblood, Jennifer Whitley Dooley
Am J Case Rep 2012; 13:75-78
Available online: 2012-05-18
Background: Central nervous system (CNS) Tuberculosis (TB) meningitis is a progressive disease that can present in many forms. CNS TB is encountered frequently in areas of high prevalence of tuberculosis and dissemination is common, but TB meningitis is a disease that has a relatively low prevalence in North America.
Case Report: 27 year-old African American male presented with complaints of headache, altered mental status (AMS), and seizure activity. He was found to have fever, encephalopathy, and leukocytosis. Work up of his AMS revealed cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) consistent with acute lymphocytic meningitis and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed right basilar meningeal enhancement with acute right basal ganglia infarction. Given the characteristic CSF and MRI finding for Tuberculosis (TB) a computed tomography (CT) of the chest was performed which revealed right upper lobe nodules with central cavitations. Biopsy results revealed Tuberculosis. The patient showed significant improvement once empiric tuberculosis therapy was begun.
Conclusions: CNS TB is a treatable disease that will be fatal if not recognized early. It is imperative to be aware of the key clinical features of TB meningitis, and maintain a high level of suspicion when dealing with CNS infection if the cause is unknown.
Keywords: Tuberculin, Tuberculosis, Meningeal, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Meningitis, Stroke, Seizures