From a high fever to a loss of taste and smell, coronavirus is known to be associated with a range of nasty symptoms.

Now, scientists have warned that the virus could also cause brain issues that lead to an ‘altered mental status.’

Researchers from the Henry Ford Health System have reported an unusual case of brain inflammation linked to COVID-19.

A 58-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 developed a case of acute necrotising encephalitis (ANE) - a central nervous infection.

Dr Elissa Fory, who was part of the research team, said: “This is significant for all providers to be aware of and looking out for in patients who present with an altered level of consciousness.

“We need to be thinking of how we’re going to incorporate patients with severe neurological disease into our treatment paradigm. This complication is as devastating as severe lung disease.”

Coronavirus

ANE is a rare, severe and rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain, and usually develops shortly after a viral infection.

It’s previously been linked to infections like influenza, chickenpox and enterovirus, and now it seems the condition could also be associated with COVID-19.

Aside from her coronavirus symptoms of fever and cough, the woman, who is unnamed, also presented with confusion, fatigue and disorientation.

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Coronavirus prevention

An MRI scan identified abnormal lesions in her brain, confirming doctors’ suspicions that she had ANE.

While this is believed to be the first case of ANE linked to COVID-19, the researchers have urged doctors to be aware of a possible link.

In their study, published in Radiology, the researchers said: “As the number of patients with COVID-19 increases worldwide, clinicians and radiologists should be watching for this presentation among patients presenting with COVID-19 and altered mental status.”