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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 675807, 5 pages
Case Report

Two Immigrants with Tuberculosis of the Ear, Nose, and Throat Region with Skull Base and Cranial Nerve Involvement

1Department of Infectious Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
2Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
3Department of Radiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, 2300 RC, The Netherlands

Received 20 December 2010; Accepted 16 February 2011

Academic Editor: Peter M. Van Ooijen

Copyright © 2011 Renate A. Richardus et al. 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.


We report two immigrants with tuberculosis of the skull base and a review of the literature. A Somalian man presented with bilateral otitis media, hearing loss, and facial and abducens palsy. Imaging showed involvement of both mastoid and petrous bones, extending via the skull base to the nasopharynx, suggesting tuberculosis which was confirmed by characteristic histology and positive auramine staining, while Ziehl-Neelsen staining and PCR were negative. A Sudanese man presented with torticollis and deviation of the uvula due to paresis of N. IX and XI. Imaging showed a retropharyngeal abscess and lysis of the clivus. Histology, acid-fast staining, and PCR were negative. Both patients had a positive Quantiferon TB Gold in-tube result and improved rapidly after empiric treatment for tuberculosis. Cultures eventually yielded M. tuberculosis. These unusual cases exemplify the many faces of tuberculosis and the importance to include tuberculosis in the differential diagnosis of unexplained problems.