Good outcome with early empiric treatment of neural larva migrans due to Baylisascaris procyonis

Pediatrics. 2012 Mar;129(3):e806-11. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2078. Epub 2012 Feb 6.


We report a remarkably good outcome in a 14-month-old boy with early clinical diagnosis and aggressive empirical treatment of neural larva migrans caused by the raccoon roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis. He presented with fever, meningismus, lethargy, irritability and asymmetric spastic extremity weakness. Early findings of marked blood and cerebrospinal fluid eosinophilia and of diffuse white matter signal abnormality in the brain and spinal cord on MRI suggested a parasitic encephalomyelitis. Rapid presumptive treatment with albendazole and high-dose steroids halted progression of clinical signs. The diagnosis was confirmed by 2 sequential enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay studies positive for B procyonis serum immunoglobulin G and by Western blot. Field examination with soil sampling yielded infective Baylisascaris eggs. Repeat MRI 3 months later showed atrophy and diffuse, chronic white matter abnormalities, discordant with the marked clinical improvement in this interval. At 10 months, residual neurologic deficits included subtle paraparesis and moderate language delay. This case is the first in which spinal involvement in human Baylisascaris infection was clinically suspected and confirmed by neuroimaging. Importantly, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment of Baylisascaris meningo-encephalitis and myelitis with albendazole and high-dose steroids likely contributed to the good outcome in this patient, in contrast with previous reports.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Albendazole / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Ascaridida Infections / diagnosis
  • Ascaridida Infections / drug therapy
  • Ascaridoidea / drug effects
  • Ascaridoidea / parasitology*
  • Central Nervous System Helminthiasis / diagnosis*
  • Central Nervous System Helminthiasis / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Larva Migrans / diagnosis*
  • Larva Migrans / drug therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Raccoons / parasitology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Albendazole