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Tuberculous Meningitis in an Immunocompetent Host: A Case Report

Suchin R. Khanna, Stephen M. Kralovic, Rajan Prakash

(Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2016; 17:977-981

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.900762


BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis is very rare in the United States in immunocompetent hosts. Risk factors are similar to those of pulmonary tuberculosis, including poverty, malnutrition, overcrowding, a compromised immune system, and coming from an endemic area. Meningeal tuberculosis mortality and other outcomes have changed little over time despite effective therapies due to delay in diagnosis because of its rarity, variable presentation, and often indolent course.
CASE REPORT: We describe a case of a 57-year-old male immigrant from Senegal with no significant past medical history and no previous history of tuberculosis or evidence of immune compromise. He presented to the hospital with headache and altered mental status and was subsequently diagnosed with tuberculous meningitis.
CONCLUSIONS: This is a rare case of tuberculous meningitis in an immunocompetent host, questioning the conventional view that tuberculous meningitis is a disease of immunocompromised individuals. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining a strong clinical suspicion of tuberculous meningitis even in an immunocompetent patient in a geographical area with low prevalence if the patient has risk factors. Missed or delayed diagnosis is commonly fatal.

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