Transverse myelitis due to trypanosomiasis in a middle aged Tanzanian man

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2006 May;77(5):684-5. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2005.079533.

Abstract

We report the case of a middle aged Tanzanian man who developed a spinal cord syndrome over 6 weeks, along with a mild encephalopathy. Investigations ruled out the usual major causes of such a syndrome in our setting in northern Tanzania. Examination of his cerebrospinal fluid revealed trypanosomes, and he made a slow but dramatic improvement after a full course of suramine and melarsoprol. We postulate that he had a transverse myelitis due to African trypanosomiasis, a rare and barely recognised cause.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Developing Countries*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melarsoprol / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelitis, Transverse / diagnosis
  • Myelitis, Transverse / drug therapy
  • Myelitis, Transverse / etiology*
  • Neurologic Examination / drug effects
  • Radiculopathy / diagnosis
  • Radiculopathy / drug therapy
  • Radiculopathy / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Compression / drug therapy
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology
  • Suramin / therapeutic use
  • Tanzania
  • Trypanocidal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / complications*
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / diagnosis
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / drug therapy

Substances

  • Trypanocidal Agents
  • Suramin
  • Melarsoprol