Central nervous system toxoplasmosis in adult Ethiopians.Ethiop Med J 2006; 44(2):113-20EM
Toxoplasmosis is identified as one of the major central nervous system (CNS) opportunistic infections in AIDS patients. Sero-epidemiological surveys done among Ethiopian patients indicated a very high prevalence rate. This study was conducted to describe the clinical course of the disease in Ethiopians with AIDS.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Three hundred and twenty three patients with AIDS and CNS Toxoplasmosis that were consecutively admitted and treated with Sulfadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP) at the Tikur Anbessa Specialized Referral Hospital were reviewed. The diagnosis CNS Toxoplasmosis was made based on clinical features or neuroradiologic findings and response to treatment. In over 80% of the cases the dose of Pyrimethamine used was 100 mgs for two days and then 25 mgs daily PO.
The male to female ratio was one to one. The median age was 34 years (range 18 - 75). The most common presenting symptoms were headache 293 (91%), fever 269 (83%), and abnormal level of consciousness in 201 (62%) of the cases. Focal neuralgic deficits were seen in 203 (63%) of the cases. The diagnosis of CNS toxoplasmosis was based on clinical features and response to treatment in 186 (58%) of the cases and on CT scan findings and clinical response in 54 (17%) of the cases. Among the 248 (78%) of the cases that had responded favorably to SP, 53% had improvement on the 7th day, while the rest had improvement on the 14th day of treatment. Major treatment related adverse reactions, which required changing treatment, were seen in 68 (20%) of the cases. Among patients who survived the first episode of toxoplasmosis, the median follow up was for 29 days (range 15-1800).
Toxoplasmosis had been the most AIDS defining event in the study group and clinical response to empiric treatment was essentially diagnostic. In our study group the outcome seen with SP as compared to the standard recommended treatment yielded comparable results. Tolerance to treatment was better and the adverse effects warranting change in treatment were fewer despite that only few patients received folinic acid supplements. We recommend a well-designed prospective study to establish the efficacy and optimal dose of SP in the treatment of CNS toxoplasmosis.