Profile of adult and pediatric neurocysticercosis cases observed in five Southern European centres

Lorenzo Zammarchi

In Europe the management of neurocysticercosis (NCC) is challenging because health care providers are unaware of this condition, thus leading to diagnostic delay and mismanagement. The aim of this study is to retrospectively review the cases of NCC observed in five centers located in Florence, Negrar (Italy) and Barcelona (Spain). A total of 81 subjects with NCC were evaluated in the period 1980–2013. By applying the Del Brutto’s criteria 39 cases (48.1 %) were classified as definitive cases, 31 (38.8 %) as probable cases and 11 (13.6 %) did not satisfy the diagnostic criteria. Continent of origin was known for 80 subjects. Latin America and Asia were the most frequent continents of origin (n = 37; 46.3 % and n = 22; 27.5 %) followed by Europe (n = 14; 17.5 %) and Africa (n = 7; 8.8 %). Compared with adults, paediatric patients were more likely to have eosinophilia, to have other parasitic infections, to be asymptomatic, to not be treated with antiepileptic drugs or analgesic and to heal. The study shows that there are some hurdles in the management of NCC in Europe. A not negligible portion of patients diagnosed at reference centers do not fully satisfy Del Brutto’s diagnostic criteria. The higher portion of asymptomatic subjects found among the paediatric group is probably related to an ongoing serological screening among adopted children coming from endemic regions. The value of such a serological screening should be better assessed by a further cost-effective analysis.

Simone Agnello
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