Frequency of subclinical peripheral neuropathy in cases of untreated brucellosis
Introduction: Brucellosis is a common zoonotic disease in some areas of the world. It may affect several organs and is known to involve the nervous system in 2.7–17.8% of affected patients. During the progression of brucellosis, peripheral neuropathies (PNs) have been reported. However, there are few studies investigating the presence of subclinical neuropathy in asymptomatic patients. In our study, we aimed to evaluate the presence of peripheral neuropathy using electrophysiological methods in newly-diagnosed untreated brucellosis patients.
Methodology: The study included a control group of 60 healthy volunteers and 60 untreated brucellosis patients with a positive result of 1/160 or above on a brucella tube agglutination test. The patient and control groups were evaluated by electrophysiological methods.
Results: In the patient group, all investigated motor nerves had slower average motor conduction speeds, reduced compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitudes and delayed F response and terminal latency compared to the control group. The sural nerve sensory conduction speed was slower and the sensory nerve action potential (SNAP) was found to be reduced.
Conclusion: Among the 60 patients with acute brucellosis, 18% had sensorimotor peripheral neuropathy of widespread axonal character. Brucellosis can have many effects in the nervous system, including clinical or subclinical peripheral neuropathy in the peripheral nervous system. Brucellosis should be considered for differential diagnosis of patients with unexplained neurological and clinically relevant electrophysiological findings, especially in regions with endemic brucellosis.
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