Eosinophilic pleocytosis in coccidioidal meningitis: frequency and significance

Am J Med. 1993 Sep;95(3):254-7. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(93)90276-u.


Purpose: Coccidioidal meningitis (CM) is a major source of morbidity and mortality in endemic regions. The diagnosis of CM is a clinical challenge. Eosinophilic pleocytosis (EP) is an uncommon finding and present in a relatively limited number of conditions. In order to determine the frequency and the prognostic significance of EP in CM, we conducted the present study.

Patients and methods: Retrospective chart review of all patients diagnosed as having CM between 1986 and 1991 at Kern Medical Center. All patients had clinical and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings confirmatory of CM.

Results: Nineteen patients (70%) in the study group had EP, and of these, 8 patients (30%) met the criteria for eosinophilic meningitis (greater than or equal to 10 eosinophils/mm3). No correlation was found between EP and age, sex, race, results of complement fixation test for coccidioidal antigen in CSF or serum, peripheral eosinophilia, or outcome.

Conclusion: The presence of EP is a frequent observation in CM. Although we did not demonstrate any prognostic correlation with EP, this finding is of major diagnostic significance and its presence should bring attention to the diagnosis of CM.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coccidioidomycosis / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Coccidioidomycosis / complications
  • Eosinophilia / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Eosinophilia / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Fungal / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Meningitis, Fungal / microbiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies