Persisting gastrointestinal symptoms and post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome following SARS-CoV-2 infection: results from the Arizona CoVHORT

Epidemiol Infect. 2022 Jul 8;150:e136. doi: 10.1017/S0950268822001200.


Erika Austhof 1Melanie L Bell 1Mark S Riddle 2Collin Catalfamo 1Caitlyn McFadden 1Kerry Cooper 3Elaine Scallan Walter 4Elizabeth Jacobs 1 5Kristen Pogreba-Brown 1


Author information

1Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

2Department of Internal Medicine, Reno School of Medicine, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA.

3School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

4Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

5University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, Arizona, USA.


In this study, we aimed to examine the association between gastrointestinal (GI) symptom presence during severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the prevalence of GI symptoms and the development of post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS). We used data from a prospective cohort and logistic regression to examine the association between GI symptom status during confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and prevalence of persistent GI symptoms at ≥45 days. We also report the incidence of PI-IBS following SARS-CoV-2 infection. Of the 1475 participants in this study, 33.8% (n = 499) had GI symptoms during acute infection. Cases with acute GI symptoms had an odds of persisting GI symptoms 4 times higher than cases without acute GI symptoms (odds ratio (OR) 4.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.45-7.53); symptoms lasted on average 8 months following infection. Of those with persisting GI symptoms, 67% sought care for their symptoms and incident PI-IBS occurred in 3.0% (n = 15) of participants. Those with acute GI symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection are likely to have similar persistent symptoms 45 days and greater. These data indicate that attention to a potential increase in related healthcare needs is warranted.



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