Background: COVID-19 is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome virus SARS-CoV-2. It is widely recognized as a respiratory pathogen, but neurologic complications can be the presenting manifestation in a subset of infected patients.
Case presentation: We describe a 78-year old immunocompromised woman who presented with altered mental status after witnessed seizure-like activity at home. She was found to have SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated neuroinflammation. In this case, we undertake the first detailed analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytokines during COVID-19 infection and find a unique pattern of inflammation in CSF, but no evidence of viral neuroinvasion.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that neurologic symptoms such as encephalopathy and seizures may be the initial presentation of COVID-19. Central nervous system inflammation may associate with neurologic manifestations of disease.