Primary Nocardia farcinica Brain Abscess With Secondary Relapsing Meningitis in an Immunocompromised Patient

Eleni Mylona, Styliani Golfinopoulou, Anthi Tragousti, Athanasios Skoutelis


Nocardiosis is an opportunistic infection primarily affecting immunocompromised patients. Central nervous system (CNS) involvement in the form of cerebral abscesses may be a complication of nocardia infection. Nocardia farcinica, in particular, is believed to disseminate the CNS more often than other nocardia species, being associated with antibiotic resistance and therefore higher mortality. We describe the first case of a patient with relapsing meningitis caused by N. farcinica. A 61-year-old Caucasian man was admitted for evaluation of fever, headache and confusion. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed cerebral abscesses and examination of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), polymorphonuclear count, elevated protein and hypoglycorrhachia. CSF cultures were negative, while multiplex polymerase chain reaction showed Staphylococcus aureus. The patient received vancomycin/meropenem and later, because he was still febrile, with symptoms from the CNS, linezolid/meropenem, in which he responded well. During the following months, he had to discontinue linezolid because of myelosuppression with subsequent relapses of meningitis. In such a relapse, the patient was admitted for reevaluation. CNS cultures grew N. farcinica, susceptible to linezolid, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazol and ceftriaxone. He was discharged on trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for 12 months. This is the first reported case of relapsing meningitis caused by N. farcinica. It highlights, on the one hand, the importance of the prolonged treatment in relapses prevention and on the other, the limited value of linezolid as prolonged treatment due to its long-term toxicities.

J Med Cases. 2015;6(7):304-306


Nocardia farcinica; Brain abscess; Meningitis; Relapse; Linezolid

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