Neuroschistosomiasis mimicking lower back pain: case report of a rare differential diagnosis in a pediatric patient

Background
Spinal myelitis is an infrequent manifestation of spinal cord infection. It is caused by the Schistosoma species, which are endemic in South America, part of the Middle East, and Africa.

Case presentation
We report the case of a 13-year-old male adolescent complaining of progressive lower back pain and weakness of the lower extremities for 3 days. Initial magnetic resonance imaging revealed typical transverse myelitis. Subsequently, parasite serology showed a markedly elevated level of Schistosoma antibody titers, and cerebrospinal fluid analysis yielded normal results. Because of our presumptive diagnosis of neuroschistosomiasis, the patient was prescribed an empirical regimen of an anti-parasitic agent, after which his neurological deficit promptly subsided. The patient was followed for 1 year and showed a complete long-term resolution of symptoms.

Conclusions
This case highlights the increasing prevalence of neuroschistosomiasis in recent years, particularly in patients with a history of travel to endemic regions. Moreover, the study reports the clinicoradiological features of this enigmatic disorder. This rare occurrence potentiates further studies to address unanswered questions about neuroschistosomiasis.