Background: SARS-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), not only infects the respiratory tract, but also other organs. About a third of the inpatients of COVID-19 have neurological symptoms and in vitro experiments revealed that SARS-CoV-2 could infect human neural progenitor cells and brain organoids. However, the traditional test often reports negative owing to the low number of virus in the cerebrospinal fluid. To date, timely diagnosis of central nervous system infection of SARS-CoV-2 remains a challenge.
Case presentation: On day 14 of COVID-19, seizures, maxillofacial convulsions, intractable hiccups and significant increase in intracranial pressure developed in a 56-year-old man. The RT-PCR of SARS-CoV-2 was negative. SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid were detected in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by ultrahigh depth sequencing. The patient was successfully treated after 14 days of mechanical ventilation and treatment of pneumonia and neurological dysfunction.
Conclusions: This case suggests SARS-CoV-2 can invade the central nervous system and relevant examinations with CSF including ultrahigh depth sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 are needed among COVID-19 patients with neurological dysfunction.