Case Report: Molecular Detection of Leptospira in Two Returned Travelers: Higher Bacterial Load in Cerebrospinal Fluid versus Serum or Plasma AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE Waggoner, J. J., Soda, E. A., Seibert, R., Grant, P., Pinsky, B. A. 2015; 93 (2): 238-240


Leptospirosis is a potentially severe illness in returned travelers. Patients often present with fever, headache, and neck pain, which may lead to a workup for meningitis including the acquisition of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Although Leptospira DNA has been detected in CSF by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), little data exist regarding the utility of testing CSF in addition to serum or plasma obtained on presentation. In this report, we present two cases of leptospirosis in returned travelers presenting with fever and headache. Our first patient had neutrophilic meningitis, and Leptospira was detectable only in CSF obtained on admission. The second patient had a normal CSF profile, but Leptospira was detected in CSF at a bacterial load 5- to 10-fold higher than that in plasma. CSF is an important specimen for the diagnosis of Leptospira by molecular methods and may yield an actionable diagnosis in the absence of leptospiremia.

View details for DOI 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0174

View details for Web of Science ID 000359327400009

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4530740