A new case report in the medical journal Frontiers in Immunology describes an instance of a patient developing rheumatoid encephalitis after receiving a booster immunization of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine.
Rheumatoid encephalitis is a rare neurological complication of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is characterized by inflammation in the central nervous system, which can lead to a range of symptoms such as headache, confusion, seizures, and vision or hearing problems.
According to the report, the patient developed neurological symptoms and was diagnosed with rheumatoid encephalitis approximately two weeks after receiving the booster shot.
“Our patient is a rare case of rheumatoid encephalitis with acute exacerbation, which was observed after the vaccine booster immunization,” the study authors write.
The study authors noted that adverse reactions such as autoimmune neurological diseases have been linked to the vaccine, though the specific immune responses that lead to these diseases are not fully understood.
“Typical COVID-19 vaccination-related autoimmune neurological diseases reported include cranial nerve palsies, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myelitis, and encephalitis, but the details of the altered immune responses that contribute to their pathogenesis remain unresolved,” the authors write.
The study authors emphasize the importance of continuing to monitor and investigate potential adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.
“Large clinical studies of rheumatoid arthritis have reported that COVID-19 vaccine does not clearly increase the risk of recurrence, but there are rare reports of increased disease activity and recurrence,” the authors write.
“Accumulating evidence is warranted to clarify the potential role of the specific classical monocyte population to utilize as the surrogate marker of immune flare in COVID-19 vaccination-related CNS diseases.”
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