The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society leadership together with its Scientific Issues Committee want to express their concerns for the large community of patients, physicians and associated health providers in the midst of a global pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). During the last few weeks, spread of the infection continued to move fast with an uptick in cases across countries and continents despite massive measures to contain the dissemination of the virus (SARS-CoV-2). We are yet facing an exponential increase of spread in multiples regions around the world and the more serious forms of COVID-19 with pulmonary complications occur in the older population as well as people with systemic co-morbidities. Although at this time the relationship between COVID-19 and Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders remains unknown, the clinical presentations of this viral infection alert us of a potentially increased threat to a large number of our patients. Also, it is important to recognize that our understanding of COVID-19 is still unfolding and forthcoming data may reveal more insights into the risks of this outbreak for our community of patients. Some of the recent published data can be consulted for further details on the incidence and clinical forms of COVID-191-10.
We feel that it is imperative to emphasize the importance of containment measures for all our patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have emphasized the importance of taking active measures to contain the spread of the virus in communities and mitigate the risk to vulnerable populations. In particular, CDC has specific recommendations for high-risk groups of patients.
In general, we recommend that our movement disorder patients do not assume they are at extreme risks, which for the time being are uncertain. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend following the standard measures strictly to avoid exposures to the virus. In addition to the basic recommendations to the public, we especially recommend our patient community to consult the websites of WHO and CDC for additional information, and importantly their doctors for specific recommendations depending on individual conditions.
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