BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-200237

Relapsing fevers and lymphadenopathy in a young woman

  1. Anjali Bhagra1
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2Department of Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anjali Bhagra, bhagra.anjali{at}


A 23-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with severe occipital headache, nausea and fever. She was treated with intravenous antibiotics for suspected meningitis. After a brief period of response, her symptoms relapsed and remained refractory despite continuing intravenous antibiotics for 10 days leading to referral to our centre. Physical examination was significant for tender right cervical lymph node. Initial tests included pancytopenia, elevated C reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase and unremarkable cerebrospinal fluid. Extensive infectious and rheumatology work-up was negative. Massive posterior cervical, axillary and inguinal lymphadenopathy was revealed on imaging. Excisional biopsy of the deep cervical lymph node showed histiocytic necrotising lymphadenitis suggesting a diagnosis of Kikuchi disease. Her course was complicated by acute renal failure. Her symptoms resolved in about a week with supportive treatment along with improvement in pancytopenia and renal function. She had two additional self-limited recurrences in the next 3 months and remains symptom free thereafter.

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