Category Archives: Virus infection

Viral Infection and the Thyroid in the Age of Covid-19


By Gary M. Pepper, M.D.
(This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or treatment)

During the Covid-19 pandemic my medical practice has been operating as normally as possible. The other day a young woman arrived wearing a surgical mask with a stack of medical records in hand, for a new patient appointment. Her difficulties began 6 weeks prior with intense tenderness in the right side of her neck just above the clavicle (collarbone) which varied in intensity over the course of about 10 days. Evaluation by her primary care physician uncovered newly elevated thyroid hormone levels. During our discussion she recalled a respiratory tract infection starting a week before the neck pain developed.  Still complaining of lung congestion she denied fever or shortness of breath.  Sitting comfortably, the thyroid was no longer tender but was slightly enlarged and unusually firm.  Reading on it will become clear why my preliminary diagnosis is sub-acute thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid following a viral respiratory tract infection, possibly Covid-19. Continue reading