, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 322-328

Eosinophilic meningitis

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Abstract

Eosinophilic meningitis (EM) is a distinct clinical entity that may have infectious and noninfectious causes. Worldwide, infection with the helminthic parasite, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, is the most common infectious etiology. Historically, this infection has been acquired through ingestion of competent intermediate and paratenic (carrier) hosts or contaminated food in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. A recent outbreak of A. cantonensis-associated EM among US travelers to Jamaica and subsequent parasitologic surveys of local snails and rats confirm earlier case reports and engender a wider appreciation of the Caribbean islands as a new region for endemic A. cantonensis infections. Clinically, eosinophilia is not always present in the cerebrospinal fluid or in the peripheral blood during the initial manifestions of A. cantonensisassociated EM, which include headache and cutaneous sensory alterations. Effective management of patients involves careful attention to the control of intracranial pressure. Steroid therapy without specific anthelmintic treatment is safe and effective in control of headache of adult patients with A. cantonensis-associated EM.