Brucellosis presenting as a spinal epidural abscess in a 41-year-old farmer: a case reportReport as inadecuate

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Cases Journal

, 2:7614

First Online: 02 July 2009Received: 06 May 2009Accepted: 18 June 2009DOI: 10.4076-1757-1626-2-7614

Cite this article as: Starakis, I., Solomou, K., Konstantinou, D. et al. Cases Journal 2009 2: 7614. doi:10.4076-1757-1626-2-7614


IntroductionBrucellar epidural abscess is rare but potentially fatal medical entity and very few cases have been reported so far. Whilst in developed countries, cases of brucellar spondylitis and epidural abscess are unusual, since brucellosis has practically been eradicated in animals, in Greece it is one of the most frequent zoonosis. By reporting this case report we want to stress out the importance of early diagnosis and management and also that physicians should keep an open mind and high index of suspicion especially in regions where brucellosis is endemic or when their patients have traveled to these areas and have consumed unpasteurized dairy products.

Case presentationWe present the case of a 41-year-old male Caucasian farmer complaining of acute, progressively worsening low back pain of five days duration. Fever with rigors, malaise and profuse night sweating were added to the symptoms, two days before admission. Magnetic Resonance imaging clearly showed the lesion and blood and tissue cultures were positive for Brucella melitensis.

ConclusionSpinal epidural abscess is a rare condition, difficult to diagnose, may be complicated by potentially disastrous neurological or vascular complications, and it can be fatal if left untreated. Patients complaining of fever and back pain, particularly in endemic areas should be investigated as possible cases of brucellosis and MRI is the method of first choice in the diagnostic process. Neurological dysfunction is often disproportionate to the observed degree of compression. A delay in diagnosis or surgical treatment may result in deleterious sequelae such as permanent paralysis or even death for patients with spinal epidural abscess.

AbbreviationsMRImagnetic resonance imaging


SEAspinal epidural abscess.

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Author: Ioannis Starakis - Katerina Solomou - Dimitrios Konstantinou - Chrysoyla Karatza


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