Inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis) may be associated with a wide range of causes. These include a thyroiditis that occurs as part of a systemic viral infection.

The term de Quervain's thyroiditis may be used for a self-limited thyroiditis associated with a viral infection. It also describes a granulomatous thyroiditis with giant cells (giant cell thyroiditis).



(1) The patient has evidence of a viral infection.

(2) The patient develops enlargement of the thyroid gland, which may be painful or painless.

(3) There may variable changes in circulating thyroid hormones, including transient thyrotoxicosis.

(4) A thyroid scan may show decreased uptake.

(5) Serum levels of C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) may be elevated.

(6) The thyroiditis resolves as the infection clears.

(7) Other explanations for thyroiditis are excluded.


Viruses implicated with thyroiditis include:

(1) dengue

(2) influenza

(3) cytomegalovirus

(4) Coxsackievirus and other enteroviruses

(5) viral hepatitis A, B, C or E

(6) mumps

(7) Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)

(8) measles

(9) chickenpox

(10) rubella

(11) human foamy virus

(12) parvovirus B19

(13) HSV-1

(14) HTLV-I

(15) HIV

(16) SARS coronavirus

(17) rubella

(18) polyomavirus (SV40)


Differential diagnosis:

(1) concurrent thyroiditis and viral infection that occur independent of each other

(2) autoimmune thyroiditis triggered by the viral thyroiditis

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