Subacute thyroiditis is usually preceded by an upper respiratory infection and causes neck pain. The study was published in Oxford’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Researchers in Pisa, Italy found that an 18-year-old woman’s thyroid became infected after she had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19) in February. In March, she tested negative for COVID-19 but then came down with a fever and complained of very bad pain in her neck and jaw. She displayed an enlarged thyroid as well as an increased heart rate and tested positive for high thyroid hormone levels.
“COVID-19 continues to show us many surprises,” Dr. David Hiltzik, director of head and neck surgery at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City told US News. “It has been shown to manifest in so many different organ systems throughout the body, so it is not surprising that the thyroid joins the many other areas that have been affected by the disease.
Luckily subacute thyroiditis is quite treatable. The Italian woman was given prednisone which helped her neck pain and fever and the rest of her symptoms dissipated after a week.
Thyroiditis can be caused by many different infections including mumps and HIV so this isn’t a surprising side effect of COVID-19 which is causing a number of post-viral infections.
According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 5.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported around the world and there have been 338,000 deaths.