HealthDay News — Patients with schizophrenia may face an increased risk for serious infections, according to a study presented at the European Congress on Psychiatry, held from April 1 to 4 in Florence, Italy.

The researchers reviewed data from 893,647 individuals in Denmark, 7,852 of whom had schizophrenia. All of those in the study were born between 1975 and 1990.

The study authors found that the rate of infectious diseases was 36% among patients with schizophrenia, compared to 25% for the general population. Individuals with schizophrenia were 63% more likely to suffer a serious infection than those in the general population. 

he investigators also found that addiction and having other health problems were the most important factors associated with severe infection. Each one increased the risk of serious infection by 2.7 times in both patients with schizophrenia and those in the general population.

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“Schizophrenia is associated with increased incidence rates of severe infections in both the pre-diagnostic and the post-diagnostic period,” the researchers write. “The increased susceptibility to infections was not confined to a specific time prior to or after the onset of schizophrenia. A person’s comorbidities are important determinants of outcome in hospitalization with severe infection.”

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Pankiewicz-Dulacz M, Stenager E, Stenager E, Chen M. Incidences and risk factors of severe infections in young adults with schizophrenia: a nationwide register-based cohort study in Denmark. Presented at: European Congress on Psychiatry. Florence, Italy: April 1-4, 2017.