Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
Visit old site
Home Print this page Email this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size
Users Online: 90

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 245-248

Pyogenic brain abscess in Thailand

1 Wiwanitkit House, Bangkhae, Bangkok, Thailand
2 Hainan Medical University, China

Date of Web Publication14-Jun-2012

Correspondence Address:
Somsri Wiwanitkit
Wiwanitkit House, Bangkhae, Bangkok
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1947-2714.97200

Rights and Permissions

Pyogenic brain abscess is important in neurology. This infectious disease is fatal and the management is usually complicated. Here, the authors review and discuss the clinical aspects of pyogenic brain abscess found in the earlier reports from a tropical setting in Thailand. The literature review was compiled through standard reference database searching and the derived publications were further extracted to obtain clinical data. The main clinical characteristics of pyogenic brain abscess in this setting were similar to others. However, there are some specific characteristics on the nature of tropical setting.

Keywords: Abscess, Brain, Pyogenic, Tropical

How to cite this article:
Wiwanitkit S, Wiwanitkit V. Pyogenic brain abscess in Thailand. North Am J Med Sci 2012;4:245-8

How to cite this URL:
Wiwanitkit S, Wiwanitkit V. Pyogenic brain abscess in Thailand. North Am J Med Sci [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Mar 26];4:245-8. Available from: https://www.najms.org/text.asp?2012/4/6/245/97200

  Introduction Top

Pyogenic brain abscess is an important neurological infection. Similar to the abscess in other sites, the pyogenic brain abscess is a collection of pustular materials presenting as a mass-like lesion. The pyogenic brain abscess is an important neurological disease and can present with fatal illnesses. In some old reports, the mortality rate is up to one-third; [1] however, the current mortality of brain abscess patients is below 10%. However, this neurological disease could still be found despite improvements in medical facilities. Brain abscess is still related to high rates of neurological impairment and death. [2],[3] Management of brain abscess requires good therapeutic practice. The complications of the disease could be seen and has to be closely followed and managed in the patients.

As pyogenic brain abscess is a kind of infectious disease, the disease is expected to be more common in a setting with poor sanitation and medical facilities. Infectious diseases are usually common in tropical countries. Here, the authors review and discuss the clinical aspects of pyogenic brain abscess found in the previous reports from a tropical setting in Thailand. The literature review was compiled by standard reference database searching and the derived publications were further extracted to obtain clinical data. The main clinical characteristics of pyogenic brain abscess in this setting are similar to others. However, there are some specific characteristics due to the nature of tropical setting.

  Literature Review on Pyogenic Brain Abscess in Thailand Top

A systematic review on pyogenic brain abscess in Thailand was done with an aim to summarize the Thai reports on pyogenic brain abscess. For reviewing, standard search engines like PubMed and ThaiIndexMedicus were used and the searching key words included "Thailand," "brain" and "abscess." The searching term "abscess" already covered cerebral abscess, supratentorial abscess, infratentorial abscess, cerebellar abscess, etc. Both pediatric and adult populations were already covered in this search. Only the reports on pyogenic brain abscess with complete information were selected for further descriptive analysis. Since this is only a review, and not a retrospective descriptive study, complete data on all the issues could not be found from all of the selected publications and as the data were obtained from non-homogeneous groups, the complete statistical analysis could not be done. The statistical analysis was done only where it was appropriate and possible.

According to the literature search, there were 8 selected publications on a total of 390 patients, [4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] which were used for further extraction of clinical data [Table 1]. The age range of the patients were between 0.25 and 54 years (median age = 11.4 years). There were 226 males and 164 females (ratio = 1.38: 1). The focused issues for review included epidemiology, microbiology, clinical diagnosis and treatment (which include therapeutic management, complications and outcome). The details of the review on various publications would be shown further.
Table 1: Previous publications on brain abscess in Thailand

Click here to view

  Epidemiology of Pyogenic Brain Abscess in Thailand Top

There are some reports on epidemiology of brain abscess from several countries around the world. Interestingly, without dependence on the setting of study, the cases are usually elder or pediatric male patients. [12],[13],[14],[15] However, the trend of decreasing incidents are reported due to the improvement in world sanitation at present. [14]

Focusing on the Thai situation, there are some epidemiological reports on pyogenic brain abscess. However, there are no good systematic reports due to the lack of good neurological experts in Thailand. Few reports are present on the epidemiological data of pyogenic brain abscess relating to otological disorder. [4,5] Among the cases in those reports, most patients are usually young male patients with brain abscess as complication of suppurative otitis media. [5],[6],[7] There is a good report among the pediatric population from the biggest pediatric hospital in Thailand. [8] According to this report, the most important underlying condition of pyogenic brain abscess in Thai pediatric cases is congenital heart diseases, especially for Tetralogy of Fallot. [8] The other underlying condition is otitis media. [6] There are also some reports focusing on specific groups of patients. The reports on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients are very interesting since Thailand is a country that still has the problem of increasing HIV infection. The prevalence of brain abscess among Thai HIV-infected patients is about 3.2%. [9]

As a conclusion, the report on epidemiology of pyogenic brain abscess is still limited in Thailand. The lack of good epidemiological data might be the problem for strategic planning for the control of this infectious disease.

  Microbiology of Pyogenic Brain Abscess in Thailand Top

Several pathogens can cause pyogenic brain abscess. Commonly, the bacterial pathogens are the corresponding pathogens for brain abscess; however, some rare organisms such as fungus and parasite might cause brain abscess. In previous Thai reports, bacteria are the most common group of pathogens causing brain abscess, [5],[8],[10],[11] similar to the reports from other countries. [12],[13],[14],[15]

Microbiologically, a single organism (46.3%; 156 from 337 known data) is usually the etiological pathogen in Thai cases. [5],[8],[10],[11] The 3 leading pathogens are Streptococci, Proteus and Staphylococcus aureus, [5],[8],[10],[11] which are similar to the reports from other countries. [12],[13],[14],[15] However, there are some interesting pathogens that are specific in this setting due to the nature of tropical countries. Those special situations would be further discussed under another specific heading in this article.

  Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment of Pyogenic Brain Abscess in Thailand Top

The clinical diagnosis of brain abscess in Thailand is usually made by a neurologist. The confirmation of the diagnosis is usually done by a computed tomography (CT) scan after focusing on the suspicious clinical manifestation [5],[8],[9],[10],[11] like fever (87.2%), which is the most common presentation followed by headache (72.8%) and focal neurological signs (62.6%). [5],[8],[9],[10],[11] The diagnosis of brain abscess in all cases is done through the neurological imaging as already noted. [5],[8],[9],[10],[11] The lesion is usually single and is located at the parietal or temporal lobes, [5],[8],[9],[10],[11] which is noted differently in some reports from other countries where they mentioned a frontal lobe predominance. [14] Since this article is not a case report, the authors cannot provide original figures of brain abscesses. Some figures are available as original reports (but they cannot be represented since it would be considered plagiarism) and some reference websites (such as emedicine.medscape.com/article/336829-overview).

For the treatment, the standard pattern is the antibiotic treatment attempt followed by drainage in failure case. [5],[8],[9],[10],[11] Focusing on the outcome, the mortality rate among the Thai patients is about one-tenth. [5],[8],[9],[10],[11] There is no report on short- or long-term complications and outcome among the survived patients. Since there is no new observation on the clinical data from reported cases of pyogenic brain abscess in Thailand, the authors hereby only discuss briefly.

  Some Important Conditions on Pyogenic Brain Abscess in Thailand Top

Being a tropical country, there are some concerns toward tropical medicine in pyogenic brain abscess in Thailand. Since there are fewer reports on this specific issue, the authors hereby summarize and discuss on some important conditions.

Melioidosis brain abscess

Melioidosis is an important bacterial infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. It is common in tropical countries, especially Mekong countries in Southeast Asia (including Thailand, Laos and Cambodia). This infection has a variety of clinical spectrum and is accepted as a great mimicry pathogen. [16],[17],[18] The disease can also be present as brain abscess. [16],[19] The diagnosis of this condition might be difficult if the physician in charge is not adept with it. [20]

There are some reports on pyogenic brain abscess due to melioidosis in Thailand. Based on a case series by Kasantikul et al., this disorder could be seen at any age with a male predominance. The diagnosis is primarily through CT scan and the confirmation is through culture analysis. [21] The abscess usually affects the frontoparietal area. [21] Expert recommendation on antibiotic treatment for this condition is "Ceftazidime is the treatment of choice for severe melioidosis, but response to high-dose parenteral treatment is slow. [19]" However, a long duration of treatment is usually required and the failure rate is high. [19]

Amebic brain abscess

This kind of brain abscess occurs due to parasitic infection. It might not be an actual pyogenic brain abscess but it can be present as pustular brain lesion. Indeed, amebic brain abscess is an important invasive extraintestinal amebiasis. The causative pathogen is Entamoeba histolytica. This condition might have been common in the past but it is extremely rare in Thailand at present due to improvement of sanitation. However, undiagnosed amebic brain abscess is still reported and considered a serious condition in medical practice. [22]

Typhoid brain abscess

Typhoid is an important gastrointestinal infection due to  Salmonella More Details typhi. It is a common tropical infection and can still be seen in Thailand. The brain abscess can be an important presentation of typhoid, although it is rare. The classical presentations as seen in general pyogenic brain abscess can be seen but there may not be any gastrointestinal presentations in the patients. [23],[24] There are some reports of typhoid brain abscess in Thailand. However, due to good sanitation at present, this condition has not been detected for decades.

  New Findings from Reviewing the Thai Reports on Pyogenic Brain Abscess Top

In this work, the authors review and discuss the publications on brain abscess in Thailand. Indeed, brain abscess is a fairly common problem and is mentioned in chapters in many neurological books. In general, the findings from this work show similar clinical patterns of pyogenic brain abscess in Thailand. However, there are some specific and new findings from this specific setting.

First of all, being a tropical country, the pyogenic brain abscess from tropical infections could be seen. Of interest, the diagnosis of those infections could be missed if there is no good concern. For example, melioidosis is a very hard-to-diagnose infection that requires good history-taking and laboratory analysis. [16],[17],[18] Also, some tropical brain abscesses need specific medications such as anti-parasitic drug for amebic brain abscess. Presenting with the same clinical pictures, the underlying causative pathogens might be different and this is hard for effective management. The final diagnosis may not be reached just through imaging investigations and may usually require additional diagnostic tests. Understanding patient history is the key factor for a successful early diagnosis of uncommon tropical pyogenic brain abscess.

Furthermore, due to good transportation system at present, new cases of tropical pyogenic brain abscesses can be expected due to migrants and travelers [25],[26] and this could be a more difficult situation.

  Conclusion Top

Pyogenic brain abscess is an important neurological infection. It could be seen in Thailand with similar clinical epidemiology and characteristics to those reported in other countries. However, there are some interesting issues related to the nature of tropical countries.

  References Top

1.Dohrmann PJ, Elrick WL. Observations on brain abscess. Review of 28 cases. Med J Aust 1982;2:81-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Gelabert-González M, Serramito-García R, García-Allut A, Cutrín-Prieto J. Management of brain abscess in children. J Paediatr Child Health 2008;44:731-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Gelabert-González M, Serramito-García R, Aran-Echabe E. Supratentorial and infratentorial brain abscess. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2012;154:1117.   Back to cited text no. 3
4.Kongsiriwattanakul S, Suankratay C. Central nervous system infections in HIV-infected patients hospitalized at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital. J Med Assoc Thai 2011;94:551-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Kangsanarak J, Fooanant S, Ruckphaopunt K, Navacharoen N, Teotrakul S. Extracranial and intracranial complications of suppurative otitis media. Report of 102 cases. J Laryngol Otol 1993;107:999-1004.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Chotmongkol V, Sangsaard S. Intracranial complications of chronic suppurative otitis media. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 1992;23:510-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Kangsanarak J, Navacharoen N, Fooanant S, Ruckphaopunt K. Intracranial complications of suppurative otitis media: 13 years' experience. Am J Otol 1995;16:104-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Ratanasiri B. Ten year review of brain abscess in Children's Hospital Bangkok, Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai 1995;78:37-41.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Raksadawan N, Balankura K, Charoenchonvanich S. Brain abscesses in children. Siriraj Hosp Gaz 1995;47:9-19.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Charoenchonvanich S. Retrospective study of brain abscess in children in Siriraj Hospital. Thai J Pediatr 1994;33:s6.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Auvichayapat N, Auvichayapat P, Aungwarawong S. Brain abscess in infants and children: A retrospective study of 107 patients in northeast Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai 2007;90:1601-7.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Gutiérrez-Cuadra M, Ballesteros MA, Vallejo A, Miñambres E, Fariñas-Alvarez C, García-Palomo JD, et al. Brain abscess in a third-level hospital: Epidemiology and prognostic factors related to mortality. Rev Esp Quimioter 2009;22:201-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Tsou TP, Lee PI, Lu CY, Chang LY, Huang LM, Chen JM, et al. Microbiology and epidemiology of brain abscess and subdural empyema in a medical center: A 10-year experience. J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2009;42:405-12.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Sharma R, Mohandas K, Cooke RP. Intracranial abscesses: Changes in epidemiology and management over five decades in Merseyside. Infection 2009;37:39-43.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Roche M, Humphreys H, Smyth E, Phillips J, Cunney R, McNamara E, et al. A twelve-year review of central nervous system bacterial abscesses: Presentation and aetiology. Clin Microbiol Infect 2003;9:803-9.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Thummakul T, Wilde H, Tantawichien T. Melioidosis, an environmental and occupational hazard in Thailand. Mil Med 1999;164:658-62.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. Melioidosis: A clinical overview. Br Med Bull 2011;99:125-39.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Inglis TJ, Sousa AQ. The public health implications of melioidosis. Braz J Infect Dis 2009;13:59-66.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.White NJ. Melioidosis. Lancet 2003;361:1715-22.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Cheng AC. Melioidosis: Advances in diagnosis and treatment. Curr Opin Infect Dis 2010;23:554-9.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Kasantikul V, Lerdlum S, Suwanwela N. Cerebral abscesses due to Pseudomonas pseudomallei. J Med Assoc Thai 1992;75:536-41.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Viriyavejakul P, Riganti M. Undiagnosed amebic brain abscess. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 2009;40:1183-7.  Back to cited text no. 22
23.Viriyavejakul A, Poungvarin N, Aswapokee N, Ladplee S. Salmonella typhi brain abscess: Report of a case. Siriraj Hosp Gaz 1982;34:655-6.  Back to cited text no. 23
24.Hongprapas J, Phonprasert J, Techolarn C. Salmonella typhi brain abscess: Report of a case. Chula Med J 1980;24:337-41.  Back to cited text no. 24
25.Ahlm C, Olsen B, Koskinen LO, Monsen T. Brain abscess caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Scand J Infect Dis 2000;32:562-3.  Back to cited text no. 25
26.Dietz R, Schanen G, Kramann B, Erpelding J. Intracranial amebic abscesses: CT and MR findings. J Comput Assist Tomogr 1991;15:168-70.  Back to cited text no. 26


  [Table 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Brain Abscess in the Current Decade (2010–2019) in India—A Review
R. Ravikumar,Daisy Vanitha John
Indian Journal of Neurosurgery. 2021;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
A.V. Kavitha,Thyagarajan Ravinder,Radhika Katragadda,Leela Vajravelu
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
Manish Bhagat,Akanksha Malviya
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Dexamethasone along with ciprofloxacin modulates S. aureus induced microglial inflammation via glucocorticoid (GC)-GC receptor-mediated pathway
Rajen Dey,Biswadev Bishayi
Microbial Pathogenesis. 2020; : 104227
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
Ramya Sablur Narayana,Malini Jagannatha Rao
Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences. 2018; 7(12): 1480
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Microbiology of chronic suppurative otitis media in a tertiary care setup of Uttarakhand State, India
Prakash, R. and Juyal, D. and Negi, V. and Pal, S. and Adekhandi, S. and Sharma, M. and Sharma, N.
North American Journal of Medical Sciences. 2013; 5(4): 282-287
7 Childhood pyogenic brain abscess: Clinical presentations in Thai reports
Wiwanitkit, S. and Wiwanitkit, V.
Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. 2012; 5(6): 563-564


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Literature Revie...
Epidemiology of ...
Microbiology of ...
Clinical Diagnos...
Some Important C...
New Findings fro...
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded464    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 7    

Recommend this journal