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Skin rashes not very common among Covid patients, at least in India, Delhi study shows

New Delhi: Skin rashes are not very common among Covid-19 patients, at least in India, and may have been overestimated in previous studies that linked dermatological conditions with viral infections, according to a study conducted by doctors from Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences. 

The peer-reviewed study titledPaucity of cutaneous manifestations of Covid-19 among inpatients in a referral hospital in India’ was accepted for publication in the JAAD International, an official publication of the American Academy of Dermatology, on 6 January.

Previous studies from across the world have suggested that patients admitted in intensive care units (ICUs) had a higher risk of developing skin conditions due to Covid-19 infection.

However, the team from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences said that most studies are based on “photographic or app-based observation without directly observed evaluation by dermatologists”.

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440 Covid patients were part of study

To study the types of skin manifestations of Covid-19, the researchers analysed patients admitted in the Covid wards and ICUs of a referral hospital, which, according to the study, “was designated as a Covid-19 centre since the beginning of the pandemic in India”.

As many as 440 consecutive RT-PCR confirmed cases diagnosed with moderate or severe infection, admitted in Covid-19 wards or ICUs, were included in the study. 

Of 270 patients who were admitted to Covid wards with a moderate infection, only seven (2.59 per cent) had skin manifestations, the study found.

Moreover, of 170 who were admitted to ICUs with severe disease,  only three 1.76 per cent had any skin conditions associated with Covid-19. 

The team concluded that skin conditions linked to Covid-19 are “infrequent”, and may have been “overestimated or overemphasized in earlier studies”. 

“Thus, at present, it is safe to conclude that it is unlikely that a direct causal association exists unless a large-scale case-control study is able to arrive at predictive rashes that precede Covid-19 or that herald a more severe course,”  the study said.

It further said that the team’s experience “concurs with a recent observational study from India which reported a very low incidence of skin findings in asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic Covid patients”, and takes it a step ahead: “Our work takes this observation one step ahead since it shows that skin findings attributable to Covid-19 are in fact infrequent even in patients with moderate to severe Covid-19 disease at least in India, and it would be prudent to re-examine their relevance in other settings as well.”

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

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Source: The Print

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