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COVID-19 patients occasionally present with diarrhoea. Our objective was to estimate the risk of developing the severe disease in COVID-19 patients with and without diarrhoea and to provide a more precise estimate of the prevalence of COVID-19-associated digestive symptoms. A total of 88 studies (n = 67,794) on patients with a COVID-19 infection published between 1 January 2020 and 20 October 2022 were included in this meta-analysis. The overall prevalence of digestive symptoms was 27% (95% confidence interval (CI): 21-34%; I2 = 99%). According to our data, the pooled prevalence of diarrhoea symptoms in the 88 studies analysed was 17% (95% CI: 14-20%; I2 = 98%). The pooled estimate of nausea or vomiting in a total of 60 studies was 12% (95% CI: 8-15%; I2 = 98%). We also analysed 23 studies with eligible individuals (n = 3800) to assess the association between the disease severity and diarrhoea. Individuals who had diarrhoea were more likely to have experienced severe COVID-19 (odds ratio: 1.71; 95% CI: 1.31-2.24; p < 0.0001; I2 = 10%). Gastrointestinal symptoms and diarrhoea are frequently presenting COVID-19 manifestations that physicians should be aware of.

Original publication




Journal article


Trop Med Infect Dis

Publication Date





SARS-CoV-2, abdominal pain, anorexia, diarrhoea, gastrointestinal tract, nCoV COVID-19, nausea, vomiting