We have had many queries concerning the risk of individuals with celiac disease and the novel COVID-19 virus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that those at increased risk are older individuals and those with chronic medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
This discussion is mainly concerning adults, as children do not seem to be severely affected, if at all.
There is no data concerning COVID-19 outcomes in celiac disease. Celiac disease is a chronic medical condition in which there appears to be increased risk of infections with pneumococcal bacteria that cause pneumonia and herpes zoster (causing shingles). In addition, there appears to be increased risk of worse outcome with influenza infections and an inadequate response to vaccination with hepatitis B. Still, these risks, while measurable in several studies, are small in magnitude.
It is reasonable to consider those with celiac disease, especially older individuals, may be at a small increased risk of worse outcomes with infections with this new virus.
In view of this data, individuals should closely follow the advice of the CDC given to the general population, including hand hygiene and social distancing when possible. In addition, it is important that those with celiac disease ensure they are current with vaccinations and have follow up medical care appropriate for the disease.
The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University has initiated an international registry focused on coronavirus infection in celiac disease patients.
We suggest that you keep up-to-date with these rapidly developing events. Helpful resources include the CDC website (cdc.gov), and NewYork Presbyterian Hospital’s Coronavirus information page: https://www.nyp.org/coronavirus-information The hospital has also established a Covid-19 hotline: 646-697-4000.