Does immunosuppressive treatment entail an additional risk for children with rheumatic diseases? A survey-based study in the era of COVID-19

TURAN O., DEMİRKAN F. G. , Kayaalp G., ÇAKMAK F., TANATAR A., Karadag S. G. , ...More

RHEUMATOLOGY INTERNATIONAL, vol.40, no.10, pp.1613-1623, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00296-020-04663-9
  • Page Numbers: pp.1613-1623


The aim of the research was to further extend current knowledge of whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) disease 2019 (COVID-19) entails a risk for children with various rheumatic diseases under immunosuppressive treatment. Telephone survey was administered by conducting interviews with the parents from May 1, 2020 to May 20, 2020. A message containing a link to the actual questionnaire was sent to their phones simultaneously. The medical records of the patients were reviewed for gathering information about demographic data, clinical follow-up, and treatments. Patients who were followed-up under immunosuppressive treatment (n = 439) were attempted to be contacted. The diagnostic distribution of patients (n = 414) eligible for the study was as follows: juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) (n = 243, 58.7%), autoinflammatory diseases (n = 109, 26.3%), connective tissue diseases (n = 51, 12.3%), and vasculitis (n = 11, 2.7%). In the entire cohort, the mean age was 12 +/- 4.7 years, and 54.1% (n = 224) were female. Nine patients have attended the hospital for COVID-19 evaluation, 6 of whom were in close contact with confirmed cases. One patient with seronegative polyarticular JIA, previously prescribed methotrexate and receiving leflunomide during pandemic was identified to be diagnosed with COVID-19. None, including the confirmed case, had any severe symptoms. More than half of the patients with household exposure did not require hospitalization as they were asymptomatic. Although circumstances such as compliance in social distancing policy, transmission patterns, attitude following contact may have influenced the results, immunosuppressive treatment does not seem to pose an additional risk in terms of COVID-19.