COVID-19 Inflammatory Bowel Disease update

There have been many enquiries regarding COVID -19 and the possible impact on people with IBD on medications that suppress the immune system.

With the evolving COVID-19 situation, we all need to do everything we can to protect ourselves, our colleagues and our community. Because Australia currently has had a lower prevalence of the virus than elsewhere, our great opportunity is prevention and the next 2 weeks are critical.

With regards to managing your risk of contracting COVID 19, please see the following advice:

  • We recommend practicing standard health hygiene measures - hand washing, protecting coughing and sneezing and avoid touching your face.
  • We recommend social distancing (1.5m), and avoiding unnecessary gatherings, crowded places, crowded public transport etc.
  • We will be conducting phone clinics and cancelling face-to-face clinics where possible – if you have an upcoming appointment please contact your doctor’s rooms to check to see if it can be converted into a telephone consultation.
  • If you develop a fever please see your GP for testing, and if confirmed COVID 19 positive, immediately contact your IBD care provider.
  • If you are feeling very unwell then please present to hospital.
  • If you have been exposed to a close contact with confirmed COVID 19, please contact us via phone for advice regarding your medications and self-isolate.
  • Please speak to your employer about working from home, if that is not possible then ask to see if your job can be modified to minimise exposure to the public, and ensure you follow the standard health hygiene measures outlined above.

If you are taking steroids (e.g. azathioprine/6MP, methotrexate and biologics) the risk of contracting the virus is still fairly low. The risk of contracting the virus is higher if you need rescue steroids and/or have to be admitted to hospital for a disease flare - please do not stop your normal maintenance medications if you are otherwise feeling well as you will risk a disease flare.

Above all, please don’t panic. There is a lot about COVID- 19 we do not know. This situation is changing daily and rapidly and we receive updates regularly. The above advice may change.

All the best from your SA Group of Specialists IBD Team

Kerrie Moss, Jean Fittock
IBD Nurses
Jenny Carney, Nick Wray
A/Prof Peter Bampton, Dr Adrian Chung, Dr Paul Spizzo
Gastroenterologists (Tennyson Centre)
Dr Sam Edwards, Dr Mahinda De Silva
Gastroenterologists (Flinders Private)
Dr Laurie Chitti, Dr Raghu Kumar
Gastroenterologists (Western Hospital)
Dr Martin Tan
Gastroenterologists (Calvary Adelaide)
Dr Marc Le Mire
Gastroenterologists (480 Specialist Centre)

Posted 23 March 2020

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