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Schizophrenia Tied to Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19

Risk higher despite lower infection risk and regardless of sociodemographic and medical factors

MONDAY, Sept. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Individuals with schizophrenia are at increased risk for COVID-19 morbidity and mortality versus individuals without schizophrenia, according to a study published in the September issue of Schizophrenia Bulletin.

Dana Tzur Bitan, Ph.D., from Ariel University in Israel, and colleagues explored the odds of significant COVID-19 morbidity and mortality among patients with schizophrenia. The analysis included 51,078 patients with schizophrenia and age- and sex-matched controls (25,539 in each group).

The researchers found that individuals with schizophrenia were less likely to test positive for COVID-19; however, they were twice as likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 (odds ratio, 2.15), even after controlling for sociodemographic and clinical risk factors (adjusted odds ratio, 1.88). Additionally, patients with schizophrenia were three times more likely to experience COVID-19 mortality (odds ratio, 3.27) compared with the control group.

“We found evidence of associations between schizophrenia and increased COVID-19 morbidity and mortality compared to controls regardless of sociodemographic and medical factors,” the authors write. “As these patients present with a combination of potential risk factors for mortality, efforts should be made to minimize the effects of the pandemic on this vulnerable population.”

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