Localized CNS brucellosis: report of 7 cases

Acta Neurol Scand. 1988 Oct;78(4):282-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1988.tb03658.x.


Seven patients with brucellar infection localized in the central nervous system (CNS) are reported. This series represent 3.5% of all brucellosis cases in our hospital. There was a conspicuous absence of systemic signs and symptoms. The clinical course was characteristically protracted. Meningitis (acute, chronic, transient and recurrent) and progressive myeloradiculopathy were the 2 clinical patterns. Cranial nerve neuropathy was frequent, eight nerve involvement being present in 4 cases; transitory ischemic attacks and subarachnoid haemorrhage occurred in 2. Routine laboratory determinations were negative or non-specific. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings included hypoglycorrhachia, lymphocytic pleocytosis and hyperproteinorrhachia. There was also a remarkable increase in the gamma-globulin and IgG values with morphology of oligoclonal bands in CSF electrophoresis. Brucella agglutination titers were low or absent in serum and/or CSF. By contrast, Coombs tests were always positive and higher titers were found in serum and CSF. After treatment a persistent CSF positive Coombs test at low titers together with an isolated increase in CSF gamma-globulin and IgG values were detected in cured patients. Brucella blood cultures were negative, but CSF cultures were positive in four cases. Rifampin and doxycycline seems to be the treatment of choice. These agents must be maintained at least for 4 months in order to avoid relapses. Corticosteroids may be helpful at the beginning of treatment. Outcome is generally favourable in this disorder. We conclude that clinical and biological characteristics of localized CNS brucellosis are in accordance with those already described in other types of localized brucellosis.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Brucellosis* / drug therapy
  • Brucellosis* / metabolism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism
  • Meningitis / drug therapy
  • Meningitis / etiology*
  • Meningitis / metabolism
  • Polyradiculopathy / drug therapy
  • Polyradiculopathy / etiology*
  • Polyradiculopathy / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Immunoglobulin G