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Kikuchi-Fujimoto-like lymphadenopathy following COVID-19 vaccine: diagnosis and management


A woman in her mid 40s presented for breast imaging after 1 week of painful and enlarged right axillary lymphadenopathy. She denied history of fever, weight loss, night sweats fatigue, cat scratch or other trauma. She received the second dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 3 months previously on the contralateral arm. A mammogram demonstrated a single, asymmetric, large and dense right axillary lymph node. Ultrasound confirmed a 2.5 cm lymph node with cortical thickening of 0.6 cm. Ultrasound-guided core biopsy showed necrotising lymphadenitis with associated aggregates of histiocytes and plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Potential causes of necrotising adenitis including Bartonella, tuberculosis, Epstein-Barr Virus, herpes simplex virus, systemic lupus erythematosus and lymphoma were excluded. In the absence of any identifiable infectious or autoimmune causes, and given the temporal relatedness with vaccine administration, it was determined that the Kikuchi-Fujimoto-like necrotising lymphadenitis was likely secondary to the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, there has been no casual association made between the COVID-19 vaccine and KFD necrotising lymphadenitis.

  • Radiology
  • Immunological products and vaccines

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