A clinical case of a combination of secondary headache with recurrent genital rash in an immunocompetent woman

I.L. Vysochyna, V.V. Mavrutenkov, Z.O. Chykarenko, O.A. Rositskaya, N.V. Zhukova


Headache is one of the most common pathological conditions worldwide, taking into account that 45 % of the adult population has ever reported severe or disabling cephalgia. This interdisciplinary problem often requires participation of many specialists to perform comprehensive differential diagnosis and to choose the effective management. The article investigates one of the causes of the headache such as infections due to persistent viruses. The article presents a detailed clinical case of recurrent episodes of severe disabling headache in an immunocompetent female, which were accompanied by genital rash. Performed laboratory survey is discussed. Methods and efficacy of therapeutic approach during exacerbation episodes and long-term follow-up are described. The article presents international classification of primary and secondary causes of headache disorders according to the International Headache Society (2013). The spectrum of etiological causes of headache, which should be included into differential diagnosis is discussed. Attention is given to differentiation of headache as a presentation of infectious diseases, both intracranial and systemic. Considering the presented clinical case of recurrent episodes of severe headache associated with signs of genital rash, etiology of herpes simplex virus 1 + 2 is suggested. According to clinicians’ opinion, Mollaret meningitis was diagnosed in the discussed case. The article presents historical background of this diagnosis, pathogenic features of this disorder, diagnostic criteria of Mollaret meningitis, its relation to the group of benign recurrent aseptic meningitis, as well as outline of other reasons of benign meningitis. Recommended management of Mollaret meningitis and its efficacy are provided in the study. Differential diagnosis of recurrent episodes of headache should include a long list of causes and often requires collaboration of different specialists. The combination of recurrent pain of any localization, such as cephalalgia with neurologic or somatic pathology, includes herpes simplex virus 1 + 2 infection in the clinical and laboratory differential diagnosis. When establishing the diagnosis of recurrent aseptic meningitis, such as Mollaret meningitis, first line etiotropic drugs are derivatives of acyclovir unless another cause of serous meningitis is confirmed. The use of acyclovir derivatives with recurrent aseptic meningitis, including Mollaret meningitis, can be justified on the basis of clinical signs in cases when exact etiotropic confirmation is complicated. This therapy should be performed as a long-term suppressive chemotherapy, duration and efficacy of which should be established during further clinical evaluation, considering absence of headache relapses and other clinical presentations.


headache; adults; differential diagnosis; Mollaret meningitis; management

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