From: Dr Scoville
To: All my patients
Regarding the impact of the ongoing Coronovirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the health of patients with autoimmune diseases and especially those patients taking immunosuppressive medications, I want to reassure all my patients that the same guidelines apply to this infection as it applies to any and all infections. The immunosuppressive medications have been shown to increase the risk of infection – and for that reason, when a patient develops an infection, then that person needs to stop further use of the immunosuppressive medication(s) until the infection has resolved. If an infection does not resolve within a few days and/or appears to worsen, then that person needs to seek medical attention. This recommendation applies to any infection – for which a person could have the Coronovirus or the flu or any variety of upper respiratory and gastrointestinal viral infections.
The main concern about the COVID-19 pandemic is that this represents a new strain of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) for which we do not have a vaccine at this time. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The most important approach to dealing with this pandemic is to limit social contacts, and to limit travel. Consequently the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has recommended that group meetings of more than 50 people be postponed for at least 8 weeks – and also avoid travel unless absolutely necessary. By this means, the disease (known as COVID-19) will be prevented from spreading. In time there will be both commercial and natural immunity to this virus. For now, adhere to the CDC guidelines, and continue taking your medications as long as you are feeling well, and wash your hands frequently.
If you feel you have a question that is not addressed by this memo, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 208-542-9080.
Craig D Scoville, MD, PhD
March 16, 2020