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Clin Microbiol Rev. 2009 Apr;22(2):322-48, Table of Contents. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00044-08.

Update on eosinophilic meningoencephalitis and its clinical relevance.

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  • 1Laboratório de Biologia Parasitária, Faculdade de Biociências, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, 91619-900 Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Eosinophilic meningoencephalitis is caused by a variety of helminthic infections. These worm-specific infections are named after the causative worm genera, the most common being angiostrongyliasis, gnathostomiasis, toxocariasis, cysticercosis, schistosomiasis, baylisascariasis, and paragonimiasis. Worm parasites enter an organism through ingestion of contaminated water or an intermediate host and can eventually affect the central nervous system (CNS). These infections are potentially serious events leading to sequelae or death, and diagnosis depends on currently limited molecular methods. Identification of parasites in fluids and tissues is rarely possible, while images and clinical examinations do not lead to a definitive diagnosis. Treatment usually requires the concomitant administration of corticoids and anthelminthic drugs, yet new compounds and their extensive and detailed clinical evaluation are much needed. Eosinophilia in fluids may be detected in other infectious and noninfectious conditions, such as neoplastic disease, drug use, and prosthesis reactions. Thus, distinctive identification of eosinophils in fluids is a necessary component in the etiologic diagnosis of CNS infections.

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