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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


A 28-Year-Old Man from India with SARS-Cov-2 and Pulmonary Tuberculosis Co-Infection with Central Nervous System Involvement

Challenging differential diagnosis, Rare co-existance of disease or pathology

Fateen Ata, Qudsum Yousaf, Jessiya Veliyankodan Parambil, Jabeed Parengal, Mohamed G. Mohamedali, Zohaib Yousaf

Qatar Department of Internal Medicine, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e926034

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.926034

Available online: 2020-07-30

Published: 2020-08-19


BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) is a great mimic of central nervous system (CNS) tumors. This mimicry may pose a challenge, as the management of both diseases is quite different. Furthermore, the temporal association of initiating treatment affects prognosis. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) mainly infects the pulmonary system. However, in a patient with concomitant pulmonary tuberculosis, it can be a diagnostic challenge.
CASE REPORT: A 28-year-old man of Indian origin presented with headache and vomiting. He had a brain mass on imaging suggestive of a glioma. He also had lung infiltrates and was diagnosed with a co-infection by SARS-CoV-2, by a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using the GeneXpert system. The mass was excised and was found to be a tuberculoma, diagnosed by Xpert MTB. He received first-line anti-TB and treatment for COVID-19 pneumonia based on local guidelines.
CONCLUSIONS: This report highlights that COVID-19 can co-exist with other infectious diseases, such as TB. A high degree of clinical suspicion is required to detect TB with atypical presentation. A co-infection of pulmonary and CNS TB with COVID-19 can present a diagnostic challenge, and appropriate patient management relies on an accurate and rapid diagnosis. Surgery may be necessary if there are compressive signs and symptoms secondary to CNS TB. A diagnosis of COVID-19 should not delay urgent surgeries. Further studies are needed to understand the effects of COVID-19 on the clinical course of TB.

Keywords: COVID-19, Glioma, Mycobacterium Infections, Tuberculosis, Central Nervous System