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Eosinophilic meningitis: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About eosinophilic meningitis

Meningitis is characterised by inflammation of meninges which are the protective coverings of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain and spinal cord are enveloped by CSF also known as cerebrospinal fluid which usually has some immunological cells in it during the infection or inflammation of the brain tissues. Eosinophilic meningitis is characterised by meningeal inflammation with presence of eosinophilic cells in the CSF.

Eosinophilic meningitis: Incidence, age and sex

Eosinophilic meningitis is a rare disorder involving the brain, which is encountered in the general population. It may be seen in any age and may occur with equal prevalence in both men and women.

Signs and symptoms of eosinophilic meningitis: Diagnosis

The most common and prominent symptom of eosinophilic meningitis is headache which may be followed by neck stiffness and fever. It may further progress to mental confusion, behavioural disturbances and even loss of memory. Occasionally, an individual with meningitis may exhibit vomiting, drowsiness, seizures, paralysis of limb muscles or unconsciousness. The individual needs immediate medical attention when such symptoms are noted.

It is advisable to consult a neurologist without delay who will conduct a comprehensive neurological examination. Other investigations like CT scans, MRI scans and examination of cerebrospinal fluid will help in establishing the diagnosis. The cerebrospinal fluid can be collected by a process called lumbar puncture. Microscopic examination of cerebrospinal fluid shows increased number of eosinophilic cells which confirms the diagnosis of eosinophilic meningitis.

Causes and prevention of eosinophilic meningitis

Eosinophilic meningitis is caused mainly by parasites and rarely fungi. Parasites namely Gnathostomiasis, Baylisascariasis or Angiostrongylus are usually the offending agents causing eosinophilic meningitis.

Eosinophilic meningitis: Complications

Sometimes eosinophilic meningitis can lead to irreversible damage to the brain tissue resulting in impairment of vital functions like hearing, vision, language, memory loss or even personality changes.

Eosinophilic meningitis: Treatment

It is recommended to consult a neurologist to discuss the effective management of eosinophilic meningitis. The main goal of treatment is to provide symptomatic relief and supportive care till the infection subsides. It is essential to provide complete rest and maintain adequate hydration of the affected individual. Medications like anti-convulsants may be prescribed if the individual has seizures. The prognosis of eosinophilic meningitis varies from person to person. It has a high fatality rate and most of the individuals succumbing to it finally. However, early detection and treatment of eosinophilic meningitis may result in complete recovery of the individual.