COVID-19: Nausea and diarrhea can also be symptoms.
As many scientists from various countries have reported, patients with Covid-19 may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and nausea, which go undetected as they are not classic symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease.
These symptoms occur in addition to better known symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Stanford Medicine researchers analyzed data collected from 116 patients with a mean age of 50, who tested positive for Covid-19 at Stanford Health Care from March 4 to 24 of this year. Most of the patients were treated in a hospital emergency room or clinic before being discharged.
However, 33 of the patients who were hospitalized, eight ended up in an intensive care unit and one died.
The researchers found that 94.8% of the patients had a cough, 76.7% had a fever, 58% experienced difficulty breathing, and 52.2% had muscle aches.
However, 31.9% of patients also reported gastrointestinal symptoms, and the majority described these symptoms as mild. Along with this 22% experienced loss of appetite, 22% had nausea and vomiting, and 12% had diarrhea.
"A third of the patients we studied had gastrointestinal symptoms."
"We may be losing a significant portion of sick patients with the new coronavirus due to our current testing strategies that focus only on respiratory symptoms."
"We also noted that 40% of patients had elevated levels of an abnormal liver enzyme and that those with high levels required more hospitalization," said co-author Dr. George Cholankeril.
While the researchers note that their data is taken from an early stage of the current pandemic and only from a single institution, they add that the findings suggest that people exposed to the coronavirus and experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms should also be analyzed.
The team also notes that there is mounting evidence in China and Singapore that Covid-19 patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms in addition to respiratory problems.
"In our current series of patients, they all had respiratory symptoms before the development of gastrointestinal symptoms."
"No patient had gastrointestinal symptoms prior to the development of respiratory symptoms or as their only manifestation of Covid-19."
"Currently, the tests are only offered for patients who meet specific criteria, criteria that often require the presence of lung symptoms."