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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

An International Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 in Individuals with Down Syndrome

March 2021 | Huls et al. - EClinicalMedicine (2020)


Background: Health conditions, immune dysfunction, and premature aging associated with trisomy 21 (Down syndrome, DS) may impact the clinical course of COVID-19.

Methods: The T21RS COVID-19 Initiative launched an international survey for clinicians or caregivers on patients with COVID-19 and DS. Data collected between April and October 2020 (N=1046) were analysed and compared with the UK ISARIC4C survey of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with and without DS.

Finding: The mean age of COVID-19 patients with DS in the T21RS survey was 29 years (SD=18). Similar to the general population, the most frequent signs and symptoms of COVID-19 were fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Joint/muscle pain and vomiting or nausea were less frequent (p<0.01), whereas altered consciousness/confusion were more frequent (p<0.01). Risk factors for hospitalization and mortality were similar to the general population with the addition of congenital heart defects as a risk factor for hospitalization. Mortality rates showed a rapid increase from age 40 and were higher in patients with DS (T21RS DS versus non-DS patients: risk ratio (RR) = 3.5 (95%-CI=2.6;4.4), ISARIC4C DS versus non-DS patients: RR = 2.9 (95%-CI=2.1;3.8)) even after adjusting for known risk factors for COVID-19 mortality. 

Interpretation: Leading signs/symptoms of COVID-19 and risk factors for severe disease course are similar to the general population. However, individuals with DS present significantly higher rates of medical complications and mortality, especially from age 40. 

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