Background: Reports have been surfacing surrounding CNS-associated symptoms in individuals affected by coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder with usual onset in childhood. Gut microbiota can affect central physiology and function via the microbiota-gut-brain axis. The authors of this case report describe Tourette’s-like symptoms in a patient resulting from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection disrupting gut microbiota.
Case Presentation: This case involves a 16-year-old female that developed acute onset Tourette’s-like symptoms along with neuropsychiatric symptoms after exposure to and infection from SARS-CoV-2. The patient had negative nasopharyngeal (NP) real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) tests for SARS-CoV-2 on five occasions from August of 2020 through June of 2021. The patient’s symptoms continued to worsen over the next six months until next-generation sequencing (NGS) revealed SARS-CoV-2 in her stool. Her treatment was adjusted as NGS revealed SARS-CoV-2 in her stool. Repair of the gastrointestinal microbiota, treatment with nutraceutical and pharmaceutical agents, as well as alterations in her surroundings resulted in dramatic improvement in the microbiome and a significant reduction of symptoms.
Discussion: The use of (RT-PCR) testing to determine the presence or absence of SARS-CoV-2 may be inadequate and inaccurate for individuals that have been exposed to the virus. In addition, the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection of the GI tract may cause significant havoc in the gut microbiota. Additional testing, eradication of infectious agents, as well as restoration of the gut microbiome are needed to effectively manage and treat this condition. The patient’s symptoms worsened over the next six months until next-generation sequencing (NGS) revealed SARS-CoV-2 in her stool and her treatment was adjusted. Treatment with nutraceuticals and alterations in her surroundings was followed by a more normal microbiome and a dramatic reduction in symptoms.