Coronavirus disease also known as (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath. The virus can lead to pneumonia in both lungs.

Those who are immunosuppressed and/or elderly are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to Dr. Rohit Aggarwal, Associate Professor of Medicine, Medical Director, Arthritis and Autoimmunity Center from the University of Pittsburgh, and Chair of The Myositis Association’s Medical Advisory Board.  Dr. Aggarwal recommends that myositis patients, particularly those on immunosuppressive drugs or older than 60 years of age, should take common sense steps and follow CDC recommendations such as frequent hand washing and avoiding sick contacts (including friends or family), avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, covering your cough and sneezes and staying home when you are sick.  Dr. Aggarwal also recommends avoiding non-urgent long-distance travel for patients on multiple immunosuppressive medications at this time.

Those with highest risk of the disease at this time, are those who have traveled overseas or have been on a cruise.  If you are experiencing symptoms, call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your recent travel and the symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor’s office will provide you guidance on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness.

For more information and to stay up to date on the latest outbreak visit the CDC’s website

11 comments on “Coronavirus Update”

  1. 1
    Claudia on March 10, 2020

    Is there anything else we can do for our specific condition? I have some extra medication, including methotrexate but what else can the Myositis community be doing to protect ourselves or to prepare?

  2. 2
    Andrea L Zinser on March 12, 2020

    I have sporadic inclusion body myositis, an auto-immune disease, and am 70 years old. Am I more susceptible to COVID-19 than other 70 year olds who do not have an auto-immune disease ?
    I am NOT on any immunosuppressant

  3. 3
    Mr Trevor Gynn on March 17, 2020

    My Age 65, 66 September 2020
    My Condition Dermatomyositis.
    Medication Methotrexate tablets.
    Concerns due to still working and coming into contact with fellow employees some have reported self containment for Seven Days.
    I have read your measures above and hope further updates note 3 March 2020.

  4. 4
    Barbara C. on March 22, 2020

    Would the Myositis Association please update the corona virus information ?

    I am on Methotrexate and plaquenil; polymyositis in remission. I have read that being on
    These medications does not absolutely make a person in the “immunosuppressed”
    Category (read this on the British National Health Service website regarding RA people.)
    If a person’s illness is stabilized, labs are normal, and on these meds, ARE they
    Truly immunocompromised?

    Take care everyone out there, follow the CV guidelines and we’ll get through this together!!!

  5. 5
    Tammy Gordon on March 23, 2020

    I have DM, but haven’t taken any medication for it in many years other than occasional prednisone in bad flare ups. I work in healthcare and I’m concerned about how susceptible I am. Is my immune system compromised with just having the disease or only while taking immunosuppressants? Thank you, Tammy.

  6. 6
    Ayse Ozdemir on March 26, 2020

    I have Polymyositis and stopped taking prednidose 5 months ago and I am on Methotrexate 7.5 mg a week one Day a week. I am 64 years old.

    I am at home in İstanbul not going out and living with my husband. I luckily had my tests done a month ago and I am not considering going to hospital for at least 2 or 3 more months.

    My husband does the shopping and I stay at home and try to keep home clean. We stopped our helper coming to clean the house since we can not accept any visitors.

    I am taking Curcumin tablet one a day and also take vitamin C and Sambucol. Since I am taking Methotrexate I am trying not to take any headache tablet but I need to know if I could take paracetamol when I need to and am I still in high risk group since I am only taking Methotrexate 7.5 mg/week. I eat planty of vegetables, fruit and eat food to support my immune sytem.

    I wish everyone have safe transition of this unfortunately times and stay healthy.

    Best wishes
    Ayse Özdemir

    1. 7
      Barbara Christiano on April 5, 2020

      Hello Ayse in Istanbul!
      I live in Vermont, USA, (near Boston.). And I have PM too. I take Metho 12.5 mg weekly
      And Plaquenil 200 mg daily, Folic acid 2 mg (are you taking folic acid); Vit C and B.
      I am 59 years old and was diagnosed in 2016, and am doing OK. How are you doing?
      I hope you are doing welll, not getting down and striving to stay positive.

      What is Curcumin tablet?

      My understanding is that paracetamol occasionally is OK. Important to avoid
      Alcohol also. You describe good things to take care of yourself and stay well with
      Avoiding Covid. It is very scary. I have never met anyone in person with PM, have you?
      I wish you well and we can support each other. – Barbara Christiano Vermont USA

    2. 8
      Linda on November 18, 2020

      Out of interest is it ok to take Sambucol with Methotrexate as my friend is starting to take it but hasn’t taken advice about it … have you been ok taking both … no side affects at all? I just want to make sure you can do that

  7. 9
    Carolyn Janes on April 1, 2020

    I have DM, but haven’t taken any medication for it in many years other than occasional prednisone in bad flare ups. I’m concerned about how susceptible I am to COVID-19. Is my immune system compromised with just having the disease or only while taking immunosuppressants? Thank you

  8. 10
    James Kelly on April 12, 2020

    Hi, I am 46 year old with Polymyositis (in remission, have history of flares) – current daily maintenance dose of 10mg Prednisolone, 100mg Azathioprine and 6×7.5mg Methotrexate once per week. Currently in lockdown in South Africa but should I continue to practice strict social distancing if lockdown is lifted? Should this continue until vaccine is found or ‘herd immunity’ declared, if ever? Are we at significantly more risk than general population?

  9. 11
    Annette Mawae on May 22, 2020

    I just looking for a clear answer. I have sjogrens and dermatomystosis and am lucky enough to have a family member to go out and do errands, etc. I am in complete quarantine (since Mar. 4th) and I want to know if I should still quarantine or if I can follow cdc quidelines and re enter outside? I am on Imuran and Plaquenil. So do I continue to quarantine. I live in Texas which is at Phase 1.

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