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SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection Ups Risks for Death, Hospitalization

Risks were increased, regardless of vaccination status, and increased according to number of reinfections

TUESDAY, Nov. 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Reinfection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with increased risks for death, hospitalization, and sequelae in the acute and postacute phases, according to a study published online Nov. 10 in Nature Medicine.

Benjamin Bowe, M.P.H., from the Veterans Affairs Saint Louis Health Care System, and colleagues estimated the risks and six-month burdens of death, hospitalization, and incident sequelae in a cohort of individuals with one SARS-CoV-2 infection (443,588 individuals), those with reinfection (40,947 individuals), and noninfected controls (5,334,729 individuals).

The researchers found that reinfection was associated with increased risks for death and hospitalization (hazard ratios, 2.17 and 3.32, respectively) and sequelae, including pulmonary, cardiovascular, hematological, diabetes, gastrointestinal, kidney, mental health, musculoskeletal, and neurological disorders, compared with no reinfection. These risks were seen irrespective of vaccination status. The most pronounced risks were seen in the acute phase, but they persisted at six months in the postacute phase. The cumulative risks and burdens of repeat infection increased according to the number of infections compared with noninfected controls.

“Our findings have broad public health implications as they tell us that strategies to prevent or reduce the risk of reinfection should be implemented,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Going into the winter season, people should be aware of the risks and practice vigilance to reduce their risk of infection or reinfection with SARS-CoV-2.”

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