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Rare case of a 3-year-old with Candida skull base osteomyelitis: lessons to be learnt
  1. Johan Bastianpillai1,
  2. Sidrah Chaudhry2 and
  3. Ananth Vijendren3
  1. 1 Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, UK
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics, Lister Hospital, Stevenage, UK
  3. 3 Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, Lister Hospital, Stevenage, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Johan Bastianpillai, johan.bastianpillai{at}


Skull base osteomyelitis (SBO) is a serious and rare condition most commonly seen in elderly diabetic or immunocompromised patients as a complication of otitis externa. We present the case of a previously healthy 3-year-old girl who presented to the paediatric emergency department with vomiting, fever, lethargy, headache and left-sided facial nerve palsy. The initial CT head revealed left-sided otitis media with otomastoiditis and she was managed with intravenous antibiotics and myringotomy with grommet insertion with initial improvement. Two weeks later she re-presented having deteriorated and a dedicated mastoid CT and temporal bone MRI showed SBO. She underwent urgent cortical mastoidectomy where microbiological analysis of the cultures and specimen grew Candida albicans. She was subsequently treated with long-term antifungals and antibiotics, and eventually recovered with good effect. The diagnostic dilemma and the empirical treatment of such a rare case are discussed.

  • ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • bone and joint infections
  • neuroimaging
  • paediatrics
  • otolaryngology/ENT

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  • Contributors JB and SC contributed equally in the whole production of this manuscript and would like to be considered as joint first authors. AV made significant contributions to the conception, drafting and final approval of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.