Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome: advice in the times of COVID-19.

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Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome: advice in the times of COVID-19.

F1000Res. 2020;9:257

Authors: Robertson MM, Eapen V, Rizzo R, Stern JS, Hartmann A

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory disease in China at the end of 2019. It then spread with enormous rapidity and by mid-March 2020 was declared a world pandemic. Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome (GTS) is a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder with a worldwide prevalence of about 1% of the population. The clinical symptoms include multiple motor and one or more phonic (vocal) tics. Germane to this communication is that 85% of patients with GTS have associated psychiatric co-morbidities, many of which are being exacerbated in the current global health crisis. In addition, several symptoms of GTS may mimic COVID-19, such as a dry cough and sniffing (phonic tics), while other symptoms such as spitting, inappropriate touching of others and “non-obscene socially inappropriate symptoms” can potentially get patients with GTS into trouble with the law. We suggest that a clear explanation of the COVID-19 illness and GTS is important to enable colleagues of various specialities who tend to patients with GTS. It is important to acknowledge at the outset that the information available on the COVID-19 pandemic changes daily, including cases infected, deaths reported, and how various national health systems are planning and or coping or not. It is fair to say that having read the current medical and lay press we conclude that it is not easy to reassure our patients with absolute certainty. However, notwithstanding that, we hope our documentation is of some assistance.

PMID: 32411359 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]