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Free Content Interleukin-2 treatment for persistent cryptococcal meningitis in a child with idiopathic CD4+ T lymphocytopenia

We report a 16-year-old male patient who presented with headache, behavior changes, and fever. His cerebral spinal fluid and blood cultures grew Cryptococcus neoformans. His laboratory evaluation was negative for human immunodeficiency virus infection but flow cytometry revealed low CD4+ count of 39 cells/mm3 and CD4:CD8 ratio of 0.43. He was initially treated with antifungal agents with only partial clinical improvement, and he was discharged to home on oral fluconazole and prophylactic co-trimoxazole. After discharge, he continued to have persistent headache and recurrent episodes of vomiting. He was readmitted several times because of worsening of meningitis symptoms and received prolonged courses of multiple antifungal therapy, with clearance of infection from the central nervous system. He was subsequently placed on prophylactic therapy with fluconazole. His peripheral CD4+ cell count remained low after resolution of his meningitis. Eight months after the initial diagnosis, recombinant IL-2 therapy was initiated and within a few months, his CD4+ cell count started to increase. Treatment with rIL-2 and prophylactic antifungal therapy continued and he has been asymptomatic for almost 20 months so far. This case is the first reported pediatric idiopathic CD4+ T-lymphocytopenia case with cryptococcal meningitis that was successfully treated by the addition of rIL-2 therapy to antifungal therapy.

Keywords: CD4 lymphocytopenia; T cells; cryptococcal infection; fungal infection; immunodeficiency; interleukin-2; meningitis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Allergy and Immunology Section, Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana 2: Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana 3: Infectious Disease Section, Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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