Gastrointestinal (GI) Coronavirus Symptoms May Be Overlooked

March 13, 2020

Symptoms of the Coronavirus

Global concerns over the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) and coronavirus symptoms are dominating the news. Experts at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns there are 647 reported cases in the US, and 25 deaths so far domestically as of March 10, 2020.

The CDC warns coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath that may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Coronavirus Symptoms Gastroenterologists Should Be Aware Of

Gastroenterologists may already be on the frontlines in the war against coronavirus. Becker’s ASC Review (GI & Endoscopy) recently warned of gastrointestinal (GI) coronavirus symptoms in the article, What gastroenterologists should know about coronavirus, which explained:

  • The digestive tract plays a key role in COVID-19, with the virus being found in patient stool samples, according to a study published in Gastroenterology. 
  • A portion of COVID-19 patients have experienced diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and/or abdominal discomfort before respiratory symptoms emerge.
  • Researchers suggested that clinicians monitor patients with gastrointestinal distress, because this early-stage monitoring could allow for earlier detection, diagnosis, isolation and intervention.
  • Another study showed the virus had been found in the stool of patients with COVID-19, and that the virus had even been found in the stool after it cleared the respiratory tract.
  • Researchers urged clinicians to be mindful of potential fecal-oral transmission.

As explained in MedPage Today’s February article, entitled GI Symptoms May Be Overlooked in Coronavirus Cases, “Gastrointestinal symptoms, which had not been considered primary clinical features of novel coronavirus, were observed in the first U.S. case of the illness, researchers found.”

GI Symptoms of Coronavirus FAQs

The CDC posted a Question and Answer segment online which included GI coronavirus symptoms:

Question: Does the clinical presentation of COVID-19 differ in children compared with adults?

Answer: Limited reports of children with COVID-19 in China have described cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) have been reported in at least one child with COVID-19. These limited reports suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms, and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon.

Tackling GI Coronavirus Symptoms

The CDC confirms there is currently no vaccine available to prevent coronavirus. But to help keep people healthy, the organization provided an online list of ways to protect yourself and others.

For more information about time-saving and cost-effective resources available for medical professionals to document GI and other procedures, visit Provation.


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