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Angiostrongylus cantonensis in travelers: clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment

Ansdell, Vernona; Wattanagoon, Yupapornb

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: October 2018 - Volume 31 - Issue 5 - p 399–408
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000481
TROPICAL AND TRAVEL-ASSOCIATED DISEASES: Edited by Christina Coyle

Purpose of review Angiostrongylus cantonensis eosinophilic meningitis is a neglected, yet important emerging disease, which has been increasingly recognized in travelers. In this review, we describe the occurrence of the disease in travelers, sources of infection, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and currently recommended treatment.

Recent findings Various intermediate hosts and/or paratenic hosts can be the source of infection in humans. Serological tests for antibody may be negative early in the course of the disease but PCR for antigen detection in the CSF has recently been developed and may help to make the diagnosis at an earlier stage. High-dose corticosteroids (e.g. prednisolone 60 mg per day for at least 1–2 weeks) are currently the recommended treatment. Efficacy and safety of antihelminthic drugs for treatment remains controversial because of theoretical concerns that they may worsen the inflammatory response to dead and dying worms. Previous clinical trials were conducted with small numbers of participants and were underpowered. Further well designed clinical trials are urgently needed.

Summary Awareness about increasing numbers of A. cantonensis eosinophilic meningitis in travelers is very important. Travelers should be advised about possible sources of infection. Diagnosis should be confirmed by antigen or antibody detection in blood or CSF. High-dose corticosteroids are the recommended treatment. The efficacy of various antihelminthic drugs is unproven. A large-scale, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of antihelminthic drug involving antihelminthic drugs such as albendazole is necessary to prove the efficacy before formally advocating their use on a regular basis

aDepartment of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, John A Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

bFaculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand

Correspondence to Yupaporn Wattanagoon, MBBS, DTM&H, Dip Thai Board Internal Med, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand. Tel: +66 23549168; e-mail: yupaporn.wat@mahidol.ac.th

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