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Central nervous system tuberculosis: A disease from Papua New Guinea in North Queensland


  • Conflict of interest: None identified.

Correspondence: Dr Pascallina LC Ting, The Townsville Hospital, PO Box 670, Townsville, QLD 4810, Australia. Fax: +61 74796 2415; email:



To describe cases of confirmed central nervous system (CNS) tuberculosis seen at the major tertiary referral centre of North Queensland over a 10-year period.


This is a retrospective case series-based study of all cases of proven Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection of the CNS presenting to a major tertiary referral centre of North Queensland between 2000 and 2010.


Five cases of confirmed CNS tuberculosis were identified over the 10-year period with two deaths. All were from Papua New Guinea with a mean age of 7 years. Imaging and early microbiological diagnosis was critical in making the diagnosis. HIV infection was not a contributing factor. Multidrug resistance was inferred or confirmed in two cases.


CNS tuberculosis is a disease being increasingly seen in North Queensland among children from Papua New Guinea. Anticipation of multidrug resistance is important in the immediate management of suspected cases.