Case Report: SARS-CoV-2 as an unexpected causal agent of predominant febrile hepatitis

F1000Res. 2021 May 18:10:400. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.52929.2. eCollection 2021.


Background: Respiratory symptoms and pneumonia are the predominant features of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to emerging SARS-CoV-2 virus, but extrapulmonary manifestations are also observed. For instance, some degree of liver injury has been described among patients requiring hospital admission for severe COVID-19. However, acute febrile hepatitis as an initial or predominant manifestation of COVID-19 has been rarely reported. Case presentation: A 34-year-old man without underlying medical conditions presented with fever of unknown origin for two weeks in the absence of respiratory symptoms or other complaints. Laboratory testing revealed isolated acute hepatitis, for which an extensive microbiological work-up did not reveal identification of the causal agent. PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 on a nasopharyngeal swab was negative on two occasions and initial serology for SARS-CoV-2 (at 15 days from symptoms onset) was also negative. However, repeated SARS-CoV-2 serological testing at 30 days demonstrated seroconversion leading to the diagnosis of COVID-19-related hepatitis. The patient's condition progressively improved, while transaminases steadily declined and eventually returned back to normal within 30 days. Conclusions: We describe here a unique case of SARS-CoV-2 isolated febrile hepatitis in a young and previously healthy man, which was diagnosed by demonstration of seroconversion, while PCR screening was negative. This case report highlights the role of repeated serological testing for the diagnosis of extrapulmonary manifestations of COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; hepatology; liver; serology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Fever / etiology
  • Hepatitis* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS-CoV-2