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Severe acute toxoplasmosis infection following ustekinumab treatment in a patient with psoriasis vulgaris
  1. Muhammad A Muslimani and
  2. James Di Palma-Grisi
  1. Facolta di Medicina, Universita degli Studi di Pavia Facolta di Medicina e Chirurgia, Pavia, Lombardia, Italy
  1. Correspondence to James Di Palma-Grisi, jamesdipalmagrisi{at}


A 26-year-old man undergoing therapy with 45 mg ustekinumab (Stelara) for chronic psoriasis vulgaris was referred by his general practitioner to an infectious diseases department for fatigue, fever, night sweating, generalised lymphadenomegaly and unexplained weight loss. Physical examination revealed bilateral occipital, cervical, axillary and inguinal lymphadenomegalies in addition to splenomegaly. Preliminary investigation revealed elevated Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase and an inversion of the CD4/CD8 ratio. Whole-body spiral CT scanning with and without contrast showed splenomegaly and highlighted supradiaphragmatic and subdiaphragmatic lymphadenopathies. A complete Infectious Disease Test Panel revealed high levels of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies. Immunoglobulin G avidity was negative. Peripheral blood lymphocyte phenotyping was performed to exclude underlying lymphatic neoplasia. The diagnosis of severe acute toxoplasmosis infection in the setting of immune response modifiers was made. Ustekinumab was suspended indefinitely and the patient underwent monthly serological tests to monitor the immune response until all symptoms resolved and the serological testing was negative for Toxoplasma.

  • immunological products and vaccines
  • infections
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  • Contributors MAM: planned the project and did the background research on biologics and infectious complications, as well as finding background research for the complicated differential diagnosis for generalised peripheral lymphadenopathy. JDP-G: acquired and interpreted radiological data, identified lymph nodes >1 cm for figures, created figure from review article to demonstrate the varied causes of generalised peripheral lymphadenopathy. MAM and JDP-G: met several times to draft and revise the case report, contributed equally to each step other than the overall design (MAM) or figure creation (JDP-G).

  • 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 Obtained.

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