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Hawaii J Med Public Health. 2013 Jun;72(6 Suppl 2):26-7.

Human parasitic meningitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection in Taiwan.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


The major cause of eosinophilic meningitis in Taiwan is Angiostrongylus cantonensis. Humans are infected by ingesting terrestrial and freshwater snails and slugs. In 1998 and 1999, two outbreaks of eosinophilic meningitis caused by A. cantonensis infection were reported among 17 adult male immigrant Thai laborers who had eaten raw golden apple snails (Pomacea canaliculata). Another outbreak associated with consuming a health drink consisting of raw vegetable juice was reported in 2001. These adult cases differed from reports in the 1970s and 1980s, in which most of the cases were in children. With improvements in public health and education of foreign laborers, there have since been only sporadic cases in Taiwan. Review of clinical research indicates inconsistent association of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) results with clinical features of eosinophilic meningitis. MRI features were nonspecific but there was an association between the presence of high brain MRI signal intensities and severity of peripheral and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) eosinophilia. Inflammatory markers have been identified in the CSF of patients with eosinophilic meningitis caused by A. cantonensis infection, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and the matrix metalloproteinase system may be associated with blood-brain barrier disruption. Eosinophilic meningitis caused by A. cantonensis infection is not a reportable disease in Taiwan. It is important that a public advisory and education program be developed to reduce future accidental infection.


Angiostrongylus cantonensis; Eosinophilic meningitis; Taiwan

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