Manifestations, complications, and treatment of neurobrucellosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Int J Neurosci. 2024 Jun;134(3):256-266. doi: 10.1080/00207454.2022.2100776. Epub 2022 Aug 5.


Purpose: Central nervous system involvement by Brucella species is the most morbid form of brucellosis disease. Studies on neurobrucellosis are scarce and limited to case reports and series. Brucella is unable to infect or harm neurons without the assistance of monocytes. This raises the question of whether ceftriaxone-based regimens are effective.

Methods: The primary aim of this study was to identify, evaluate, and summarize the findings of all relevant individual studies in the past 30 years to help better understand the disease. To achieve this, a broad systematic search was undertaken to identify all relevant records. Epidemiological and clinical features of the disease were assessed by the pooled analysis of descriptive studies. Through a meta-analysis, the treatment period duration was compared between the ceftriaxone-based and oral regimens using Standardized mean differences to measure effect size.

Results: 448 patients were included in the Meta-analyses from 5 studies. A moderate positive effect was found for ceftriaxone-based regimens over oral treatments, and there was a significant difference between these two groups (SMD 0.428, 95% CI -0.63 to -0.22, I 2 = 37.64). Neurobrucellosis has a different clinical picture in pediatric patients. The disease is less chronic in children. Fever, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and abdominal pain were significantly more prevalent symptoms in children, and Convulsions, ascites, sensorineural hearing loss, and papilledema were significantly more prevalent signs in children than adults.

Conclusion: It is recommended to initiate the treatment of neurobrucellosis with IV ceftriaxone therapy in combination with oral therapy.

Keywords: Neurobrucellosis; ceftriaxone; children; meningitis; treatment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Brucella*
  • Brucellosis* / complications
  • Brucellosis* / drug therapy
  • Ceftriaxone / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Fatigue
  • Humans


  • Ceftriaxone