BACKGROUND: Cladophialophora bantiana is a melanised mold with a pronounced tropism for the central nervous system, almost exclusively causing human brain abscesses.
CASE REPORT: We describe a case of cerebral infection by this fungus in an otherwise healthy 28-year-old coal-miner. Environmental occurrence, route of entry, and incubation period of this fungus are unknown, but our case is informative in that the first symptoms occurred about eight weeks after known traumatic inoculation. Lesions were compatible with tuberculous granulomas, and the patient initially received antitubercular treatment. Melanised fungal cells were seen in a brain biopsy and abscess materials. Therapy was switched from empirical antitubercular treatment to amphotericin B (0.5mg/kg/d), but was changed to voriconazole 200mg/d, i.v. on the basis of antifungal susceptibility test results. The patient responded clinically, and gradually improved. The isolate was identified by sequencing of the Internal Transcribed Spacer domain of rDNA.
CONCLUSIONS: Given the non-specific clinical manifestations of C. bantiana cerebral abscesses, clinicians and laboratory workers should suspect infections caused by C. bantiana, particularly in immunocompromised patients with a trauma history.