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Case Report: Ascending Myelo-Encephalitis after a Penetrating Injury to the Foot: An Atypical Case of Neuromelioidosis

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  • 1 Department of Neurology, Aster Medcity, Kochi, India;
  • 2 Department of Internal Medicine, Aster Medcity, Kochi, India

ABSTRACT

Organisms penetrate the central nervous system (CNS) via three routes. The commonest is the hematogenous route, and other routes include contiguous or penetrating injury or rarely via retrograde axoplasmic route. Although the axoplasmic highway is often used by viruses, only a few bacteria are known to penetrate the CNS via this route. We present a 57-year-old man who developed a penetrating injury while working in a field. Over the next 4 months, he developed pain at the site of the poorly healing wound, which ascended up the right leg and presented as a conus-cauda syndrome. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed an enhancing intradural intramedullary enhancing lesion in the conus on the right side with cord edema from D11 to L1 level. Extensive evaluation was negative, and he continued to progress to holocord myelitis and developed bilateral corticospinal tract lesions (“tractopathy”) in the brain stem and internal capsule. He died after developing a right-sided cerebritis with mass effect. Tissue biopsy from the brain at the time of decompressive craniectomy grew Burkholderia pseudomallei and confirmed a diagnosis of neuromelioidosis (NM). We reviewed the literature for NM, its variable presentations, and the concept of an “infectious tractopathy” and imaging findings which could generate suspicion of this entity.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Balram Rathish, Department of Internal Medicine, Aster Medcity, Cheranalloor P.O. Kochi 682027, India. E-mail: balramrnair@gmail.com

Authors’ addresses: Boby Varkey Maramattom, Department of Neurology, Kochi, India, E-mail: bobvarkey@gmail.com. Balram Rathish, Department of Internal Medicine, Kochi, India, E-mail: balramrnair@gmail.com.

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