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 — titled ‘Paucity 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