A woman in her 40s began leaking brain fluid from her nose after getting swabbed for COVID-19 testing, a new case report reveals.
Health care workers often jokingly describe nasopharyngeal swabs - the extra-long Q-tips used for many coronavirus tests - 'brain-scraping' implements.
But for the Iowa woman, that joke was too near to reality.
Shortly after she went for COVID-19 testing, the woman's nose started dripping profusely, her head started hurting and she became so nauseous she was vomiting.
When her head and neck got stiff and she tasted metal, the woman went to the doctor, where scans revealed a hole at the base of her skull.
Cerebrospinal fluid - a protective clear liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord - was dripping from her nose.
It's the first time doctors have reported the alarming and potentially dangerous leak, triggered by the dreaded coronavirus test swabs.
But in the case report, published Thursday, the University of Iowa doctors noted that the swab alone didn't cause the leak. The woman had an undiagnosed skull defect, and when the small opening was prodded by the swab, it became wide enough for brain fluid to seep out.
Scans of the woman's brain revealed an undiagnosed opening at the base of her skull. After the swab 'caused trauma' to the spot, she began leaking cerebrospinal fluid
Nearly 104 million Americans have been tested for coronavirus since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shipped out its first batch of (flawed) coronavirus tests in February.
In that time, more than seven million people have tested positive. An estimated less than five percent of all people tested may have received false positives, and others have likely received a false negative.
When test kits were scarce and the city suddenly