There is limited understanding of the epidemiology of meningitis among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected populations in sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted a prospective cohort study of HIV-infected adults with suspected meningitis in Uganda, to comprehensively evaluate the etiologies of meningitis. Intensive cerebrospiral fluid (CSF) testing was performed to evaluate for bacterial, viral, fungal, and mycobacterial etiologies, including neurosyphilis,16s ribosomal DNA (rDNA) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for bacteria, Plex-ID broad viral assay, quantitative-PCR for HSV-1/2, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and Toxoplasma gondii; reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for Enteroviruses and arboviruses, and Xpert MTB/RIF assay. Cryptococcal meningitis accounted for 60% (188 of 314) of all causes of meningitis. Of 117 samples sent for viral PCR, 36% were EBV positive. Among cryptococcal antigen negative patients, the yield of Xpert MTB/RIF assay was 22% (8 of 36). After exclusion of cryptococcosis and bacterial meningitis, 61% (43 of 71) with an abnormal CSF profile had no definitive diagnosis. Exploration of new TB diagnostics and diagnostic algorithms for evaluation of meningitis in resource-limited settings remains critical.
Mortality due to AIDS-related Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is often >50% in low-middle income countries. Dissemination of CM can result in intracranial mass lesions known as cryptococcoma. Patients who develop cryptococcomas often have worse outcomes when compared to patients with cryptococcosis without cryptococcoma. We describe a cryptococcoma in the central nervous system (CNS) in a Ugandan patient with AIDS, and review the diagnosis and management with special focus on difficulties encountered in low or middle-income countries.
Cryptococcal meningitis is the most common cause of adult meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa. Raised intracranial pressure (ICP) is common in cryptococcosis. Prior studies suggest elevated ICP is associated with mortality, and guidelines recommend frequent lumbar punctures (LPs) to control ICP. However, the magnitude of the impact of LPs on cryptococcal-related mortality is unknown.
Cryptococcal meningitis accounts for 20 to 25% of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related deaths in Africa. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is essential for survival; however, the question of when ART should be initiated after diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis remains unanswered.
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