Investigators Identify COVID-19 Trends for IBD Patients

January 18, 2022
Kenny Walter

Kenny Walter is an editor with HCPLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2019, he worked as a digital reporter covering nanotechnology, life sciences, material science and more with R&D Magazine. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Temple University in 2008 and began his career as a local reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers based on the Jersey shore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach and enjoying the shore in the summer and watching North Carolina Tar Heel basketball in the winter.

The Prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease is highest in the Western world.

The COVID-19 case rate changed throughout the pandemic based on geographic region for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

A team, led by Gilaad G. Kaplan, MD, MPH, Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, explored the temporal trends in reporting of COVID-19 in patients with IBD throughout the different waves of the pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, patients with IBD were of a particular concern for increased risk of infection and complication because of disease activity and drug-induced immunocompromised status.


The investigators used data from the Surveillance Epidemiology of Coronavirus Under Research Exclusion for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (SECURE-IBD), an international registry of patients with IBD who were diagnosed with COVID-19.

In SECURE-IBD, physicians enter anonymized COVID-19 cases for patients with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis into a secure database.

The team calculated the average percent changes in the weekly reported cases of COVID-19 during different waves—March 22-September 12 2020, September 13-December 12 2020, and December 13-July 31, 2021.

Overall, there were 6404 cases of COVID-19 across 73 countries included in the analysis.

Cases Based on Region

However, cases decreased globally by 4.2% per week (95% CI, -5.3% to -3.0%) during the first wave. This then increased by 10.2% per week (95% CI, 9.1-12.3%) during the second wave and then declined again by 6.3% per week (95% CI, -7.8% to -4.7%).

There were also trends found based on location.

For example, cases rose more in North America in the fall of 2020 (APC, 11.3%; 95% CI, 8.8-13.8%) and Europe (APC, 17.7%; 95% CI, 12.1-23.5%).

However, reporting was stable in Asia (APC, -8.1%; 95% CI, -15.6% to 0.1%).

During the final wave, cases for patients with IBD declined in North America (APC, −8.5%; 95% CI, −10.2% to −6.7%) and Europe (APC, −5.4%; 95% CI, −7.2% to −3.6%), but was stable in Latin America (APC, −1.5%; 95% CI, −3.5% to 0.6%).

Cases in the US

The investigators also stratified the results within the US to show geographic heterogeneity during the first 2 waves of the pandemic.

Here they found the Midwest was stable (APC, −0.4%; 95% CI, −2.3% to 1.6%) before September 13-19, but cases rose leading up to December 6-12 (APC, 17.0%; 95% CI, 10.8-23.6%).

On the other hand, cases in the Northeast decreased (APC, −10.0%; 95% CI, −12.3% to −7.6%) and then increased (APC, 19.2%; 95% CI, 11.5-27.5%).

The South increased (APC, 5.5%; 95% CI, 2.6-8.5%) and then stabilized (APC, −0.8; 95% CI, −6.8% to 5.5%), while cases of COVID-19 was stable in the West for patients with IBD during both the first (APC, −0.4%; 95% CI, −3.5% to 2.8%) and second (APC, 9.5%; 95% CI, −0.9% to 20.9%) periods.

But after December 13-19, cases in the US declined steadily by 9.2% per week (95% CI, -11.2% to -7.12%). This decline was found in all 4 regions of the US.

“After one year of reporting COVID-19 in those with IBD into the SECURE-IBD registry, our temporal trend findings are consistent with the epidemiological patterns COVID-19 globally,” the authors wrote. “The highest incidence of COVID-19 in IBD occurs in the Western world where the prevalence of IBD predominates.”

The study, “The Multiple Waves of COVID-19 in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Temporal Trend Analysis,” was published online in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.