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(HealthDay News) People with severe mental illness (SMI) have higher risks for COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in Molecular Psychiatry.

Lamiece Hassan, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated COVID-19-related infection, hospitalization, and mortality among people with SMI participating in the UK Biobank cohort study. The analysis included data from 447,296 participants (schizophrenia/psychosis: 1,925 patients; bipolar disease: 1,483 patients; and major depressive disorder: 41,448 patients; plus 402,440 with no SMI) that was linked to healthcare and death records.

The researchers found higher odds of COVID-19 mortality among people with schizophrenia/psychosis (odds ratio [OR], 4.84), bipolar disease (OR, 3.76), and major depressive disorder (OR, 1.99) versus people with no SMI. Across all SMI groups, higher odds of infection and hospitalization were also seen, particularly among people with schizophrenia/psychosis (OR, 1.61 and 3.47, respectively) and bipolar disease (OR, 1.48 and 3.31, respectively). Mortality and hospitalization remained significantly higher among all SMI groups in fully adjusted models, while infection odds remained significantly higher only for major depressive disorder.

“Only a proportion of these disparities were accounted for by preexisting demographic characteristics or comorbidities,” the authors write. “Vaccination and preventive measures should be prioritized in these particularly vulnerable groups.”

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