Background: It’s reported SARS-CoV-2 could transmit via gastrointestinal tract, with or without pulmonary symptoms. However, as far as we know, there is no convenient marker to predict the virus discharge in stool and initial gastrointestinal involvement of COVID-19.
Aims: We aimed to investigate the biomarker predicting virus discharge in stool and initial gastrointestinal involvement of COVID-19, which may assist the clinicians to better combat and prevent COVID-19.
Methods: The patients complained of initial gastrointestinal involvement, including vomiting, diarrhea, with or without respiratory symptoms, attending the Sixth People’s Hospital of Wenzhou, and the Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, were screened by qRT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2. The Confirmed COVID-19 patients without contaminated ingestion were all enrolled to investigate the association between circulating lymphocyte count and virus discharge, initial gastrointestinal involvement.
Results: 76 COVID-19 patients were finally enrolled in this study (mean age 44.5, male 44.7%), with 24 (31.5%) complained of initial gastrointestinal symptoms. Significantly lower circulating lymphocyte count was found in the patients with positive results of qRT-PCR on stool (p = 0.012). Furthermore, when the circulating lymphocyte count increased from bottom tertile to the 2nd and 3rd tertiles, the risk of initial gastrointestinal involvement decreased by nearly 75% (OR = 0.25, 95% CI: 0.07, 0.98, p = 0.047), 83% (OR = 0.17, 95% CI: 0.05, 0.63, p = 0.008), adjusted for possible confounders.
Conclusions: The circulating lymphocyte count is negatively associated with virus discharge in stool in COVID-19 patients, and the risk of initial gastrointestinal involvement also.