THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Individuals with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases (RAIRD) have a more prominently increased risk for all-cause death during COVID-19 compared with the general population, according to a study published online Dec. 4 in Rheumatology.

Emily Peach, from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a cohort study to quantify the risk for death among people with RAIRD during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were included from 168,691 people with a recorded diagnosis of RAIRD alive on March 1, 2020 (median age, 61.7 years; 70.2 percent female).

The researchers found that 1.1 percent of participants died during March and April 2020. The age-standardized mortality rate was 1.44 times higher among people with RAIRD than the average during the same months of the previous five years, whereas it was 1.38 times higher in the general population of England. In people with RAIRD, age-specific mortality rates were higher from age 35 years and upward compared with the pre-COVID-19 rates, while in the general population, the increased risk was observed from age 55 years and upward. Compared with men, women had a greater increase in mortality rates during COVID-19.

“The excess risk of all-cause death during COVID-19 occurs at a younger age among people with RAIRD than among the general population and particularly affects females,” the authors write. “We urgently need to quantify how much risk is due to COVID-19 infection and how much due to disruption to health care services.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Vifor Pharma.

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