Background: Eosinophilic meningitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis is widespread in Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. Adults develop transient meningitis with a benign course, whilst severe or fatal disease may occur in pediatric patients.
Case reports: Three infant girls, aged 8 to 11 months, living on the island of Mayotte, developed fever, hypotonia, coma (2 cases), and, for one of them, seizures. Eosinophilia was detected in the peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Secondary, flaccid quadraplegia (1 case) or paraplegia (2 cases) with absence of deep tendon reflexes, urinary retention and anal incontinence were noted. Three patients had autonomic dysfunction. Computerized tomography showed enlarged ventricles and cerebral subarachnoid spaces. One patient had sequelae. Two patients could not be followed. Retrospectively, the diagnosis of angiostrongylus infection was established for two infants by a serological study.
Conclusion: We report three new cases of infants with severe Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection in the French island of Mayotte (Comoro Islands). In this Indian Ocean area, eosinophilic meningitis seems to occur exclusively in infants and with severe radiculomyeloencephalitic forms.