Cases of idiopathic recurrent benign aseptic meningitis were first described by Mollaret. Today, herpes simplex virus (HSV) is considered the cause of most cases of Mollaret’s meningitis.
A 40-year-old male was referred to our genitourinary medicine clinic with recurrent genital herpetic lesions. He had HSV-2-positive genital ulcers 8 years earlier. One year after the first infection, he developed severe recurrent attacks of headache associated with meningitis symptoms. The results of all radiological and biochemical tests were normal, but the patient reported a correlation between his attacks and genital herpes flare-ups. We diagnosed the patient with Mollaret’s meningitis and started him on continuous suppressive acyclovir therapy, which resulted in marked clinical improvement.
Mollaret’s meningitis is a rare form of idiopathic recurrent aseptic meningitis that has a sudden onset, short duration, and spontaneous remission with unpredictable recurrence. We believe that the presence of concurrent or recurrent mucocutaneous herpetic lesions can aid its diagnosis, prior to which, affected patients usually have many unnecessary investigations and treatments. Therefore, detailed sexual history should be sought in all patients with aseptic meningitis, and clinicians should also ask about history of recurrent headaches in all patients with recurrent herpetic anogenital lesions. Continuous suppressive acyclovir therapy may reduce the frequency and severity of attacks and can dramatically improve lifestyle.