A 19-year-old immunocompetent man was admitted to hospital with diplopia, nausea, vomiting and change in mental status. The patient had a history of tuberculous meningitis that was diagnosed at another hospital 6 months before the present admission, and at that time anti-tuberculosis treatment was initiated using a first-line drug combination. A computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain revealed non-communicating hydrocephalus. A ventriculo-peritoneal shunt was inserted surgically. Two months later, the patient was hospitalized again for fever, dysphagia and left hemiparesis. At that time, his cranial CT findings were within normal limits; however, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed an irregular multilocular peripheral contrast-enhancing lesion in the posterior fossa. The abscess was surgically drained. The presence of acid-fast bacilli in the abscess material was demonstrated by Ziehl-Neelsen staining. Mycobacterium tuberculosis grew on Lowenstein-Jensen culture medium, and the strain was found to be resistant to isoniazid. One month after the operation, the patient became quadriparetic. Cervical MRI revealed a cervico-thoracic syringomyelitic cavity, after which a syringoperitoneal shunt was placed. Treatment with four drugs was continued for 10 months, and then treatment with three drugs for a total period of 18 months. The patient recovered, with residual quadriparesis. Even though very rare, isoniazid-resistant M. tuberculosis may be the causative agent of progressive tuberculosis. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.