Mayo Clinic: Update in neurological symptoms in response to COVID-19

Devin Martin
Updated: April 28, 2020 04:57 PM
Created: April 27, 2020 09:31 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Medical experts at Mayo Clinic say while we are learning more and more about the COVID-19 virus every day, there are still a lot of unknowns including some patients experiencing neurological symptoms. 

"Headache, vomiting, confusion sometimes progresses to seizures and that constellation of seizures and signs is very consistent with meningitis or encephalitis, that is the inflammation of the brain,” Dr. Sara Hocker, a neurologist for Mayo Clinic said. “We don't know if that's caused by direct infection of the brain by the virus or if it’s the body's immune-inflammatory response to the virus."

Doctor Sara Hocker said one of the more serious symptoms they are seeing among COVID-19 patients are strokes. 

"The reason is they are not as common as the lung problems and the heart problems at least it seems,” she said, “That's why it's taking us a little longer to clearly say this is an association with the virus, it's not just a coincidence.”

These issues, Doctor Hocker said, are taking place in younger patients. 

“What's concerning about the strokes is they're occurring in younger patients. Younger patients than who you would normally think of as developing strokes and these are patients in their thirties, forties, and fifties, and the strokes are quite disabling,” she said. “They seem to be large vessel occlusion in the carotid artery that feeds the brain or in the next branching or arteries and that the problem with this is that these larger arteries feed larger territories of brain."

Health professionals say other neurological symptoms they are seeing are headaches, confusion, seizures, tingling, numbness, and a loss of smell and taste. Also, they want to remind you that any symptom mild or severe should be treated seriously and to contact your medical provider.

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