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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 2, Issue 4, Pages 155-160

A Review of Tuberculous Meningitis in a Canadian Pediatric Hospital

Lissette Navas2 and Elaine Wang1

1Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Pediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 8 November 1990; Accepted 24 April 1991

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tuberculous meningitis is a disease associated with high morbidity and mortality. Experience with this disease at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto was reviewed to determine whether changes in prognosis have occurred in the past decade. All patients from whom the organism was recovered from the cerebrospinal fluid, or who had a positive Mantoux test in association with a compatible history, were included. Thirteen patients were identified from 1978 to 1989. The median age was six years (range 11 months to 17.5 years). Nine patients were born in Canada, but all except one were members of recently immigrant families. History of close contact with an adult with tuberculosis, or travel to an endemic area in the preceding six months, was present in seven cases. All patients had clinical manifestations and mild pleocytosis with elevated protein content in the cerebrospinal fluid. Patients were all diagnosed within 20 days after admission (median one day). Computed tomography scan of the head was abnormal in all patients within three weeks of admission. No patient died, although long term sequelae developed in five. The prognosis of tuberculous meningitis has improved in the past decade. Although a specific reason for this improvement cannot be definitively stated, earlier diagnosis and better chemotherapy may contribute.