Tag Archives: toxoplasmosis

Parkinsonian Syndrome and Toxoplasmic Encephalitis

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0009

Toxoplasmosis encephalitis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus may progress rapidly with a potentially fatal outcome. Less common neurological symptoms associated with this are Parkinsonism, focal dystonia, rubral tremor and hemichorea–hemiballismus syndrome.
A 58 year old woman suddenly lost consciousness and was admitted to the emergency service. Her medical history was unremarkable, except for frequent headaches in the last year, recurrent herpes simplex skin lesions and an episode of urticaria. A computer tomography scan showed supra and infra-tentorial lesions on suggestive of cerebral toxoplasmosis. Both Toxoplasma gondii and HIV tests were positive. In the intensive care unit, antiparasitic and antiretroviral drugs were administered, and she recovered from the coma after six weeks but presented with tetraparesis, diplopia, and depression. The LCD4 count increased from 7 to 128/mm3. The neurological lesions slowly resolved over the next two months, although postural instability, rigidity, bradykinesia and predominantly left side tremor persisted. Mild improvement was achieved after the administration of levodopa.
Associated Parkinsonian syndrome in HIV patients is a rare condition, explained by the location of the brain and basal ganglia lesions, and by the observed effect of Toxoplasma gondii which increases dopamine metabolism in neural cells. Early HIV diagnostic and treatment are necessary to prevent neurological disability.

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