Advice for the management of IBD during the COVID-19 pandemic 20 Apr, 2020

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), comprising Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), is a condition in which the gastrointestinal immune system responds inappropriately.  It is therefore often treated with immune suppression medications to control inflammation and to prevent ‘flares’, a worsening in symptoms, which may be unpredictable.

During the COVID-19 outbreak the NHS will do everything they can to keep their IBD patients safe. The biggest risks are related not only to the infection itself, but also the emergency reorganisation of hospital and general practice services to deal with the pandemic, meaning routine IBD services will be significantly affected. A combined approach covering both primary and secondary care is therefore required to keep vulnerable IBD patients out of hospital as much as possible.

Frontline staff with IBD should follow the same precautions as other IBD patients.  However, given the likely high exposure of frontline staff to COVID-19 it would be advisable that hospital teams consider utilising team members with IBD in roles where exposure is limited (i.e. telephone clinics as opposed to endoscopy lists and ward work), especially if that individual is ‘moderate’ risk or has other co-morbidity.

Click here for the expanded and updated consensus advice.