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Central nervous system (CNS) may be infected by several agents, resulting in different presentations and outcomes. Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers could be helpful to differentiate specific conditions and setting an appropriate therapy.
Patients presenting with signs and symptoms were enrolled if, before receiving a diagnostic lumbar puncture, signed a written informed consent. We analyzed CSF indexes of blood–brain barrier permeability (CSF to serum albumin ratio or CSAR), inflammation (CSF to serum IgG ratio, neopterin), amyloid deposition (1–42 β-amyloid), neuronal damage (Total tau (T-tau), Phosphorylated tau (P-tau), and 14.3.3 protein) and astrocyte damage (S-100β).
Two hundred and eighty-one patients were included: they were mainly affected by herpesvirus encephalitis, enterovirus meningoencephalitis, bacterial meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae), and infection by other etiological agents or unknown pathogen. Their CSF features were compared with HIV-negative patients and native HIV-positive individuals without CNS involvement. 14.3.3 protein was found in bacterial and HSV infections while T-tau and neopterin were abnormally high in the herpesvirus group. P-tau, instead, was elevated in enterovirus meningitis. S-100β was found to be high in patients with HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections but not in those with Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV). Thirty-day mortality was unexpectedly low (2.7%): patients who died had higher levels of T-tau and, significantly, lower levels of Aβ1–42.
This work demonstrates that CSF biomarkers of neuronal damage or inflammation may vary during CNS infections according to different causative agents. The prognostic value of these biomarkers needs to be assessed in prospective studies.
A retrospective investigation was made to compare the occupational risk of tuberculosis in personnel assisting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and uninfected subjects with active tuberculosis.
We retrospectively reviewed 6 years of hospital activity in 3 units where HIV-infected patients with tuberculosis are hospitalized and in 2 units where non-HIV-infected tuberculosis patients are hospitalized. The risk of occupational tuberculosis in healthcare workers who assisted HIV-infected and non-HIV-infected patients with tuberculosis was investigated.
The risk of occupational tuberculosis in healthcare workers was studied by considering the numbers of potential source cases (hospitalized patients with tuberculosis) in the two conditions investigated (HIV-positive and HIV-negative). Both potential source cases and cases of tuberculosis in healthcare workers had to be microbiologically proven in order to be considered..
Seven cases of tuberculosis occurred in persons who cared for 85 HIV-infected subjects with tuberculosis, while only 2 cases occurred in staff members who took care of 1,079 HIV-negative tuberculosis patients over the same period (relative risk=44.4; 95% confidence interval = 8.5-438).
Tuberculosis seems no longer to be a neglectable risk in healthcare workers assisting patients with HIV infection. Further study is urgently needed to see whether such unexpectedly high dissemination of tuberculosis also is demonstrable in the community.
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