Cluster of eosinophilic meningitis attributable to Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection in French policemen troop returning from the Pacific Islands.Travel Med Infect Dis. 2008 Sep; 6(5):301-4.TM
Outbreaks of eosinophilic meningitis are reported rarely, even in regions of endemic infestation with the roundworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis, such as the Pacific Basin. We report a cluster of eosinophilic meningitis presumably attributable to A. cantonensis among French policemen returning from French Polynesia.
A retrospective cohort study among French policemen who had stayed in Tahiti was conducted using a clinical definition of eosinophilic meningitis that included severe headache within 30 days after return and eosinophilia, and who consumed locally exotic ethnic dishes with uncooked freshwater prawns.
Five persons met the case definition for eosinophilic meningitis. Corticosteroid therapy associated with antihelminthic regimen led to improvement of symptoms in one patient. Other patients were treated with albendazole alone. All patients recovered.
Among travellers at risk, the presence of severe headache and eosinophilia combined with a consistent exposure history to exotic food should alert to the possibility of A. cantonensis infestation. Travellers should be aware of the risk of infection associated with eating exotic ethnic dishes.