Tuberculous meningitis in Greek children.

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    • Abstract:
      Background: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most severe form of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Our aim was to analyze the epidemiology, clinical features, diagnostic approach, and outcome of tuberculous meningitis in childhood. Methods: During a 25-y period (1984-2008), 43 children, aged 7 months to 13 y, were hospitalized in the Paediatric Department of the referral centre for infectious diseases in Thessaloniki, Greece with the diagnosis of TBM. The patients were classified according to the clinical findings on admission as per the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) staging: stage I, 16/43 (37.2%) children; stage II, 16/43 (37.2%); and stage III 11/43 (25.6%). Results: Twenty-seven of the 43 patients were Greek (63%) and none had been BCG-vaccinated. A family history of tuberculosis was identified in 18 cases (42%). 35 patients (81%) had a positive tuberculin skin test. An extrameningeal site of infection was identified in 14 children (33%); pulmonary tuberculosis in 14/43 patients (5/13 miliary tuberculosis) and spondylitis in 1. All patients were treated with anti-tuberculous drugs and 36 (84%) also received corticosteroids. Complications during hospitalization (coma, seizures, cranial nerve palsy, hydrocephalus) presented in 26 patients (60%). Two patients died (5%) and 6 (14%) had permanent neurological sequelae. Conclusion: TBM, although rare, remains a disease with significant morbidity and mortality. Early clinical diagnosis and appropriate treatment initiation are important for the prognosis. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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