Frequency of Cryptococcal Meningitis in HIV-1 Infected Patients in North Central Nigeria
Background: Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is the most common severe life threatening fungal infection in AIDS patients. It is an important cause of morbidity and mortality. There is paucity of data on the prevalence of CM in Nigeria. We aimed to determine the frequency of CM, the clinical presentation and immunological profile.
Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), A total of 100 HIV-1 infected patients suspected of having meningitis or meningoencephalitis were subjected to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis (including Indian ink preparation and fungal culture by conventional methods) and CD4 count was determined using flow cytometry (count bit Y-R 1004 Partec Muster Germany).
Results: The freguency of CM was 36% in our cohort. The commonest clinical presentation included headache (100.0%), neck stiffness (77.8%), fever (72.0%), vomiting (55.6%), personality changes (55.6%), photophobia (27.8%) and convulsions (27.8%). The mean duration of symptoms was 24 ±22 days with a median of 17 days. The mean CD4 count was 89±60 cells/mm3 with a median of 82 cells/mm3.
Conclusion: The high prevalence of CM and the associated severe immunosuppression underscores the importance of early diagnosis of HIV infection which may reduce the incidence of CM. There is the urgent need for access to Amphotericin B and fluconazole in resource constrained settings in addition to a wide access to HAART.
Key words: Cryptococcal meningitis, HIV, North central Nigeria