Int J Neurosci. 2018 Jan;128(1):55-62. doi: 10.1080/00207454.2017.1363747. Epub 2017 Aug 24.


Purpose: Neurobrucellosis (NB) is a rare complication of brucellosis. NB presents with avariety of clinical manifestations, and the symptoms are always atypical. Our aim was to analyze the demographic characteristics, clinical manifestations, laboratory findings, imaging findings, treatments and outcomes of patients with NB.

Material and method: We retrospectively reviewed the data from 17 patients with NB hospitalized at the Chinese People's Liberation Army General Hospital between 1 January 2005 and 31 October 2016.

Results: The following symptoms were recorded: 10/17 (59%) patients had fever, and 9/17 (53%) patients had a disorder affecting urination and defecation. Involvement of the cranial nerves was documented in 12/17 (71%) patients. The positivity rates of the tests were as follows: serum standard tube agglutination (STA), 15/17 (88.2%); cerebrospinal fluid STA, 10/17 (59%). The radiologic findings were categorized into four types: normal, white matter changes, vascular insult and inflammatory changes. Patients were treated with different combinations of rifampicin, doxycycline, ceftriaxone sodium and sulphamethoxazole for a total of six months. Two (12%) patients deteriorated, and two (12%) patients were lost to follow-up. The remaining patients (76%) were cured, but sequelae occurred in six patients.

Conclusions: NB should be kept in mind in patients with autonomic dysfunction, especially disorders of urination and defecation. Hearing loss due to vestibulocochlear nerve injury seems to be typical for NB. The high incidence of sequelae may be related to a long disease course and the involvement of the central nervous system. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment could decrease mortality and sequelae.

Keywords: Neurobrucellosis; clinical manifestations; imaging findings; laboratory findings; treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases* / etiology
  • Brucellosis* / complications
  • Brucellosis* / drug therapy
  • Central Nervous System Bacterial Infections* / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Bacterial Infections* / drug therapy
  • Central Nervous System Bacterial Infections* / etiology
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases* / etiology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / etiology
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents