Successful Treatment of Encephalitis Following SARS-Cov-2 Infection: A Case Report

Document Type : Case Report


1 Department of Infectious Diseases, Antimicrobial Resistance Research Center, Communicable Diseases Institute, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

2 Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Sari Bu Ali Sina Hospital, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

3 Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran


Background: The SARS-CoV-2 invades the cells by attachment of virus spike proteins (S1, S2) to cell membrane and engages angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is highly expressed in the epithelium of cerebral vasculature. Here, we describe a patient with encephalitis following SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Case presentation: A 77-year-old male patient presented with mild cough and coryza lasting for eight days without a prior history of underlying disease or neurologic disorder. Oxygen saturation (SatO2) was decreased and behavioral changes, confusion, and headaches were started within three days prior to admission. Bilateral ground glass opacifications and consolidations were noted on chest CT scan. Lymphopenia, highly elevated D-Dimer and ferritin were noted in laboratory results. Brain CT and MRI showed no changes regarding encephalitis. Cerebrospinal fluid was collected as the symptoms persisted. The results of SARS-CoV-2 RNA RT-PCR from CSF and nasopharyngeal samples were positive. The combination therapy with remdesivir, interferon beta-1alpha and methylprednisolone was started. Due to deterioration of the patient’s status and SatO2, he was admitted to the ICU and intubated. Tocilizumab, dexamethasone, and mannitol were started. The patient was extubated on the 16th day of ICU admission. The patient’s level of consciousness and SatO2 were improved. He was discharged from the hospital a week later.
Conclusion: RT-PCR of CSF sample along with brain imaging can help with diagnosis when encephalitis due to SARS-CoV-2 is suspected. However, no changes regarding encephalitis may be seen on brain CT or MRI. Combination therapy with antivirals, interferon beta, corticosteroids, and tocilizumab can help patients recover in these conditions.