Acute Psychosis Due to Anti-N-Methyl D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis Following COVID-19 Vaccination: A Case Report

Front Neurol. 2021 Nov 4;12:764197. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.764197. eCollection 2021.


Anti-N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis has been reported after SARS-CoV-2 infection, but not after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. We report the first known case of anti-NMDAR encephalitis after SARS-CoV-2 immunization in a young female presenting with acute psychosis, highlighting a rare potential immunological complication of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 that is currently being distributed worldwide. The patient presented initially with anxiety and hypochondriacal delusions which progressed to psychosis and catatonia but returned to baseline with aggressive immunomodulatory therapy consisting of intravenous immunoglobulin, high-dose glucocorticoids, and rituximab. This study highlights that the workup of acute psychosis should include establishing a history of recent vaccination followed by a thorough neurological assessment, including for anti-NMDAR antibodies in blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Keywords: COVID-19; NMDA-receptor; encephalitis; psychosis; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Case Reports