Rare case of brain inflammation after mild COVID-19 infection

brain inflammation
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Physicians at University of California San Diego School of Medicine describe the first known case of a young, healthy adult who suffered brain inflammation after mild COVID-19 infection

The 26-year-old woman was diagnosed with COVID-19 after presenting with mild symptoms four days after a flight in mid-March 2020. Her symptoms progressed two to three weeks later which left her struggling to move her left foot and caused weakness on the left side of her body, but she had no headaches and experienced no change in her cognition.

CNS lymphocytic vasculitis

However, an MRI revealed multiple lesions in the right frontoparietal region of the brain and a biopsy revealed CNS lymphocytic vasculitis — inflammation or swelling of blood vessels in the brain and spine.

Immunosuppressive medication

The woman underwent a series of corticosteroid-based treatments, began long-term immunosuppressive medication, which she currently still takes, and after six months the lesions had decreased with no new lesions formed.

Corresponding senior author Jennifer Graves, MD, PhD, a neurologist at UC San Diego Health and associate professor of neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine, said:

“This patient was first confirmed case of COVID-19 CNS vasculitis, confirmed by biopsy, in a young healthy patient with otherwise mild COVID-19 infection. Her case tells researchers and clinicians to consider these serious potential brain complications even in young patients and those with minor initial Covid-19 infections.”

A full report has been published in the journal Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. 


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