Tuberculous meningitis, while not uncommon in Taiwan, has not been reported among foreign workers. We report the first case of tuberculous meningitis in a 37-year-old Filipino maid in Taiwan, who presented with headache, fever and vomiting. She had been well before this episode and the small screening films of the chest radiograph obtained on her arrival in Taiwan 15 months previously, and every 6 months thereafter showed no evidence of tuberculosis. The suspicion of tuberculous meningitis was delayed until disturbance of consciousness manifested and a standard chest radiograph showed a diffuse miliary pattern in both lung fields. A cerebrospinal fluid sample that was sent for a polymerase chain reaction-based assay specific for Mycobacterium tuberculosis showed a positive result. The patient recovered with sequelae of mildly incoherent speech and urinary incontinence after antituberculous medication and short-course steroid treatment. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of tuberculous meningitis in foreign workers with complaints of fever and headache. Because high-quality chest radiographs are a prerequisite for early detection of pulmonary tuberculosis, we recommend that standard posterior-anterior chest radiographs should be obtained as part of the routine health examination for foreign workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-786
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999


  • Foreign worker
  • Tuberculosis
  • Tuberculous meningitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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