Phaeohyphomycosis causes a wide spectrum of systemic manifestations and can affect even the immunocompetent hosts. Involvement of the central nervous system is rare. A 48-year-old farmer presented with chronic headache, fever, and impaired vision and hearing. Serial MRIs of the brain showed enhancing exudates in the basal cisterns, and lesions in the sella and perichiasmatic and cerebellopontine angle regions along with enhancement of the cranial nerves and leptomeninges. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) showed lymphocytic pleocytosis with elevated protein and decreased glucose on multiple occasions. Clinical, imaging, and CSF abnormalities persisted despite treatment with antitubercular drugs and steroids for 2 years. Biopsy of the dura mater at the cervicomedullary junction revealed necrotizing granulomatous lesions, neutrophilic abscesses, and giant cells containing slender, pauci-septate, pigmented fungal hyphae. Fungal culture showed growth of Fonsecaea pedrosoi, which is classically known to cause brain abscesses.
Hesarur et al. reported the diagnostic odyssey in a patient with chronic meningitis from a region endemic for tuberculosis and describe the challenges in establishing the accurate diagnosis. Lack of therapeutic response to an adequate trial of empirical antitubercular therapy warrants search for alternative causes, including fungal meningitis. They highlighted the uncommon manifestation of F. pedrosoi with chronic meningitis as well as the protracted clinical course despite not receiving antifungal therapy 1).