The information that is known so far about the 2019 novel coronavirus is based on what has been reported from cases in Wuhan, China, and we are learning more as the virus has spread to other countries. Based on the reported cases, we know that there may be individuals that are at higher risk. Individuals in high-risk groups defined by the CDC are being advised to take extra precautions.
In many communities where there are a number of local cases, the health departments are recommending that individuals from high-risk groups stay at home and avoid participating in public gatherings. The specific recommendations are listed below:
- Adults over 60, especially men
- Individuals with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease (including asthma), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, endocrine and metabolic disorders, neurological, neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions
- Individuals who are pregnant or had a recent pregnancy
- Individuals with weakened immune systems
- Individuals with IBD may have weakened immune systems—see section below
As of 3/11/2020, the CDC recommends that individuals in high-risk groups avoid attending public events with greater than 10 people.
- CDC - Coronavirus 2019 Homepage
- World Health Organization (WHO) Advice for the Public
- CDC - High-Risk and Special Populations
How do you know if you have a weakened immune system?
The terms weakened immune system or immune suppression are general terms that describe the lack of an appropriate response by the body to fighting diseases and producing organisms that may be harmful such as viruses and certain bacteria. Having a weakened immune system can occur for many reasons including medication, recent surgeries, age, genetics, or having a chronic illness. Patients with IBD experience many of these factors, and can have a weakened immune system.
However, not all IBD patients have a weakened immune system. Each IBD patient is different and may be taking different medications. Talk to your GI provider about your medications, your health status, and any precautions you should be taking related to COVID-19.
Coronavirus and the GI tract
According to two papers published in the journal Gastroenterology, patients with COVID-19 may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort prior to the common respiratory symptoms.1,2 The gastrointestinal symptoms that have been observed globally are less common and there is variability based on the populations and cases that were observed. Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns or questions related to your symptoms.
This information was developed by members of the Foundation's National Scientific Advisory Committee
Last updated: 3/29/2020