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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 1999 Dec;6(4):318-31.

Tuberculosis of the central nervous system in children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.


Tuberculosis remains one of the most common and important infectious diseases in the world. Between 1% and 2% of children with untreated tuberculosis infection will develop tuberculous meningitis. In 1997, 186 cases of tuberculous meningitis were reported in the United States. The initial clinical manifestations of tuberculous meningitis are protean, making early disease difficult to recognize. The clinical and radiographic manifestations of tuberculous meningitis result from the combination of basilar meningitis, infarction, and vasculitis. Early diagnosis can be problematic as Mycobacterium tuberculosis is difficult to detect by rapid tests. Although the response to antituberculosis chemotherapy is generally favorable, complications commonly occur, particularly if the diagnosis is delayed. With appropriate public health management of known tuberculosis cases, cases of CNS tuberculosis in children can be prevented.

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