1887
Volume 2022, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0253-8253
  • EISSN: 2227-0426

Abstract

Background: Autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs) are characterized by immune dysfunction and associated with an increased risk of infections, which were of significant concern during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Variable rates of COVID-19 incidence have been reported in patients with ARDs; however, the true effect of this infection on this patient population is still unclear. We, therefore, aimed to evaluate the COVID-19 prevalence among a multiethnic cohort of patients with ARDs in Qatar.

Material and Methods: We used telephonic surveys to collect demographic and clinical information of patients with ARD in Qatar between April 1 and July 31, 2020, including any close contact with a COVID-19 case at home or work and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. An electronic medical records review was conducted to verify pertinent data collected through the surveys. Prevalence with 95% confidence interval (CI), Student's t-tests, and chi-square/Fisher's exact tests were used for univariate analyses, whereas multivariate logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with COVID-19.

Results: The study included 700 patients with ARD (mean age, 43.2 ± 12.3 years), and 73% were female. Until July 2020, 75 (11%, 95% CI 9%–13%) patients had COVID-19. Factors associated with COVID-19 included being a man (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.56, 95% CI 1.35–4.88,  = 0.01) and having close contact with a COVID-19 case (aOR 27.89, 95% CI 14.85–52.38,  = 0.01). Disease severity and rheumatic medications had no significant association with the odds of contracting COVID-19. In the 86 patients with ARD having close contact, the frequency of hydroxychloroquine utilization was lower in patients who contracted COVID-19 than in those who did not (35% vs 72.5%,  = 0.01).

Conclusions: In Qatar, patients with ARDs had an overall higher prevalence of COVID-19 than global estimates. Being male and having close contact with a COVID-19 case were strongly associated with COVID-19 as reported globally. The presence of comorbid conditions, disease-specific factors, and rheumatic medications had no significant effect on the risk of COVID-19 in our study suggesting alternative mechanisms to the increased prevalence.

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2022-08-05
2022-08-10
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Autoimmune diseaseCOVID-19disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugsrheumatic disease and SARS-COV-2
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