Five cases of rectal bleeding in COVID-19 recovered patients due to Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection have been reported at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, which is a private hospital in Delhi. These Covid recovered patients experienced pain in the abdomen and bleeding while excreting. All five cases did not have any other other immunosuppressing conditions that can be the cause for this viral infection. The patients were immunocompetent before COVID-19, which implies that they did not have any health condition which compromised their immunity. As per doctors at the hospital, CMV is already present in the body in most cases, but it turns into a disease only if an individual's immunity gets reduced due to Covid infection.
Dr. Anil Arora, Chairman, Institute of Liver, Gastroenterology and Pancreaticobiliary Sciences, Ganga Ram hospital said, "Any person who recovered from COVID-19, if they have abdominal pain or blood in their stool, then should immediately go to a hospital. Also, hospitals should test for CMV if they see these symptoms." Dr. Arora further added, "Out of five cases with age group of 30-70 years were from Delhi NCR, four had presented with lower gastrointestinal bleed that is bleeding in stools and one patient presented with intestinal obstruction. Two of them had massive bleed, one requiring emergency lifesaving surgery in the form of removal of right side of the colon and one of them has succumbed due to massive bleeding and severe COVID chest disease. Other three patients were successfully treated with antiviral therapy with ganciclovir."
The doctor also stated that Covid-19 infection and the steroids used for treating this disease does lower the immunity of patients and can put the patient at a risk of many other infections with different variations and one such infection is Cytomegalovirus or CMV. He said that black fungus, white fungus, and CMV all are the uncommon infections that attack people who have weak immunity. CMV virus is present in 80-90 percent of the Indian population, but in an asymptomatic form. But, our immunity is strong to fight the severity or clinical symptoms of this infection. Dr. Arora said, "What you have do is that after recovering from COVID-19, you have to build you immunity by eating healthy. You have to avoid junk food."
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