Background: Latin America has now become the epicenter of the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In the ongoing COVID -19 pandemic, a profound burden of SARS-COV-2 infection has been reported in Latin America. In the present study, we aim to determine the profiles that are associated with this disease in Latin America. We analyzed symptoms, morbidities and gastrointestinal (GI) manifestations by country.
Methods: We analyzed data from SARS-CoV-2 positive patients evaluated at healthcare centers and hospitals of 8 Latin American countries including Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia between March 1 and July 30, 2020. These countries consist of a total population that exceeds 519 million. Demographics, comorbidities and clinical symptoms were collected. Statistical descriptive analysis and correlation analyses of symptoms, comorbidities and lethality were performed.
Results: A total of 728,282 patients tested positive for COVID-19 across all the 8 Latin American countries. Of these, 52.6% were female. The average age was 48.4 years. Peru had the oldest cohort with 56.8 years old and highest rate of females (56.8%) while Chile had the youngest cohort (39 years old). Venezuela had the highest male prevalence (56.7%). Most common symptoms were cough with 60.1% (Bolivia had the highest rate 78%), fatigue/tiredness with 52.0%, sore throat with 50.3%, and fever with 44.2%. Bolivia had fever as the top symptom (83.3%). GI symptoms including diarrhea (highest in Mexico with 22.9%), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain were not associated with higher mortality. Hypertension was among the top (12.1%) comorbidities followed by diabetes with 8.3% and obesity 4.5%. In multivariable analyses, the leading and significant comorbidities were hypertension (r=0.83, p=0.02), diabetes (r=0.91, p=0.01), and obesity (r=0.86, p=0.03). Asthma (r=0.37, p=0.54) and increasing age (0.13 p=0.81) were not independently associated with higher mortality. Lethality was highest in Mexico (16.6%) and lowest in Venezuela (0.9%) among the analyzed cohorts.
Conclusion: Nearly, 10.5%–53% of patients with COVID-19 have GI manifestations. Differential clinical symptoms were associated with COVID-19 in Latin America countries. Metabolic syndrome components were the main comorbidities associated with poor outcome. Country-specific management and prevention plans are needed. Country-specific management and prevention plans can be established from this meta-analysis.