COVID-19 and gastrointestinal symptoms in Mexico, a systematic review: does location matter?

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Background: Covid-19 in Mexico is on the rise in different parts of the country. We aimed to study the symptoms and comorbidities that associate with this pandemic in 3 different regions of Mexico. Methods: We analyzed data from SARS-CoV-2 positive patients evaluated at healthcare centers and hospitals of Mexico (n = 1607) including Northwest Mexico (Sinaloa state), Southeast Mexico (Veracruz state) and West Mexico (Jalisco state) between March 1 and July 30, 2020. Mexico consists of a total population that exceeds 128 million. Demographics, comorbidities and clinical symptoms were collected. Statistical descriptive analysis and correlation analyses of symptoms, comorbidities and mortality were performed. Results: A total of 1607 hospitalized patients positive for COVID-19 across all 3 regions of Mexico were included. The average age was 54.6 years and 60.4% were male. A mortality rate of 33.1% was observed. The most common comorbidities were hypertension (43.2%), obesity (30.3%) and diabetes (31.4%). Hypertension was more frequent in West (45%), followed by Northwest (37%) and Southeast Mexico (29%). Obesity was around 30% in Northwest and West whereas an 18% was reported in Southeast. Diabetes was most common in West (34%) followed by Northwest (22%) and Southeast (13%). This might be related to the highest mortality rate in Northwest (31%) and West (37%) when compared to Southeast. Most common symptoms in our overall cohort were fever (80.8%), cough (79.8%), headache (66%), dyspnea (71.1%), myalgia (53.8%), joints pain (50.8%) and odynophagia (34.8%). Diarrhea was the main gastrointestinal (GI) symptom (21.3%), followed by abdominal pain (18%), and nausea/ vomiting (4.5%). Diarrhea and abdominal pain were more common in West (23.1 and 21%), followed by Southeast (17.8, and 9.8%) and Northwest (11.4 and 3.1%). Conclusion: Our study showed a high mortality rate likely related to high frequencies of comorbidities (hypertension, obesity and diabetes). Mortality was different across regions. These discrepancies might be related to the differences in the frequencies of comorbidities, and partially attributed to differences in socio-economic conditions and quality of care. Thus, our findings stress the need for improved strategies to get better outcomes in our population.

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