Aetiologies and clinical presentation of central nervous system infections in Vietnamese patients: a prospective study

Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 27;12(1):18065. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-23007-0.


Knowledge of the clinical presentation of central nervous system (CNS) infections and the causative pathogens is crucial for appropriate diagnosis and rapid initiation of appropriate treatment to prevent severe neurological sequelae. The aim of this study is to understand the aetiology of CNS infections based on the clinical presentation of Vietnamese patients. A prospective hospital-based cohort study was conducted between May 2014 and May 2017. We screened 137 patients with clinically suspected CNS infection for fungal, bacterial and viral pathogens using their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood cultures. In addition, DNA or RNA extracted from CSF samples were subjected to nucleic acid testing (NAT) with a selective panel of bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens. At least one pathogen could be detected in 41% (n = 56) of the patients. The main pathogens causing CNS infections were Streptococcus suis (n = 16; 12%) and Neisseria meningitidis (n = 9; 7%), followed by Herpes simplex virus 1/2 (n = 4; 3%) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 4; 3%). Other pathogens were only identified in a few cases. Patients with bacterial CNS infections were significantly older, had a worse outcome, a lower Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), a higher rate of speech impairment and neck stiffness than patients with viral or tuberculous CNS infections. In northern Vietnam, adults are mostly affected by bacterial CNS infections, which have a severe clinical course and worse outcomes compared to viral or tuberculous CNS infections. Clinicians should be aware of the regional occurrence of pathogens to initiate rapid and appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian People
  • Central Nervous System Bacterial Infections*
  • Central Nervous System Infections* / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Central Nervous System Infections* / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Infections* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vietnam / epidemiology