Study finds measurable drop in lung volume after mild COVID infection
Nonhospitalized patients who recovered from asymptomatic to mild COVID-19 can experience small but measurable drops in dynamic lung volume, Danish researchers reported yesterday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. They note that lower lung function, even within the normal ranges, is a risk factor for higher respiratory morbidity and mortality.
Their prospective matched cohort study involved adult participants in an ongoing general population study in Copenhagen who had undergone prepandemic spirometry assessments. Researchers identified 107 people who had tested positive by PCR on average 5 months earlier, then asked them to repeat spirometry testing, fill out a questionnaire about their symptoms, and undergo a diffusing capacity test for carbon monoxide. They compared the findings with 499 age-matched controls who hadn't tested positive for COVID-19.
Of those who had tested positive for COVID-19, 85.9% had experienced symptoms, and 12 were hospitalized. When researchers excluded those who had been hospitalized, they found that COVID-19 infection was associated with an adjusted 7.3 mL decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and a 22.6 mL drop in forced vital capacity (FVC). Using modeling, they projected that the declines would be steeper between baseline and follow-up: 113.8 lower for FEV1 and 301.3 lower for FVC.
The study authors wrote that the findings could suggest an isolated restrictive disease process or combined restrictive and obstructive disease, with mechanisms needing further study.
In a related commentary, Sara Auld, MD, MS, with the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, wrote that even with vaccines, doctors may be forced to grapple with a second global pandemic of chronic lung disease, and thankfully, efforts are underway to better understand the long-term complications of COVID-19.
Jan 3 J Infect Dis abstract
Jan 3 J Infect Dis commentary
Older adult RSV patients feel quality of life impacts
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections in adults over age 50 can have substantial impacts on daily life, a research team based in Belgium reported yesterday in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.
To explore quality of life impacts, they interviewed 30 people ages 50 and older who had been sick with RSV within the past 6 months. Interviews, based on a literature search of RSV, were conducted in the first 3 months of 2020. Participants were asked about their daily activities, physical functioning, and relationships.
Physical impairments were reported by 83% of participants, with 60% reporting that they weren't doing their leisure and hobby activities. All nine who were still working reported major impacts on work, and nearly all reported emotional effects.
Nearly two thirds reported that symptoms lasted a week to more than a month.
"The information presented here captures a broad spectrum of patients' experiences with RSV disease, extending beyond symptoms to wider impacts on patients' daily lives. This broader understanding of patients' experiences may help healthcare professionals to better support patients with RSV disease," the team wrote.
Jan 3 Influenza Other Respir Viruses abstract
High path avian flu strikes more poultry in Europe and Africa
A number of countries continue to report new highly pathogenic avian influenza events in poultry, mainly from H5N1, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Bulgaria reported two outbreaks in poultry involving an unsubtyped strain. One began Dec 16 at a duck farm in Stara Zagora province, killing 20 of 6,390 birds. The other struck a farm in Haskovo province, beginning on Dec 29 and killing 1,000 of 39,950 layers.
Elsewhere in Europe, Portugal reported an H5N1 outbreak at a turkey farm in Santarem district, which started on Dec 28, killing 31 of 7,353 birds.
In Africa, Benin reported an H5N1 outbreak at a commercial farm in Oueme department. It began on Oct 5 and ended in late November, killing all 5,661 poultry at the location.
Dec 31 OIE report on avian flu outbreak in Bulgaria (Stara Zagora)
Dec 31 OIE report on avian flu outbreak in Bulgaria (Haskovo)
Dec 31 OIE report on H5N1 in Portugal
Dec 27 OIE report on H5N1 in Benin