Risk for Severe COVID-19 Outcomes among Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, the Netherlands

M.C.J. Koks-Leensen*, B.W.M. Schalk, E.J.B. van Gijssel, A. Timen, M.E. Naegele, M. van den Bemd, G.L. Leusink, M. Cuypers, J. Naaldenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately af-fected persons in long-term care, who often experience health disparities. To delineate the COVID-19 disease burden among persons with intellectual disabilities, we prospectively collected data from 36 care facilities for 3 pandemic waves during March 2020-May 2021. We in-cluded outcomes for 2,586 clients with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, among whom 161 had severe illness and 99 died. During the first 2 pandemic waves, infection among persons with intellectual disabilities re-flected patterns observed in the general population, but case-fatality rates for persons with intellectual disabilities were 3.5 times higher and were elevated among those >40 years of age. Severe outcomes were associated with older age, having Down syndrome, and having >1 concurrent condition. Our study highlights the dispropor-tionate COVID-19 disease burden among persons with intellectual disabilities and the need for disability-inclusive research and policymaking to inform disease surveillance and public health policies for this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023



Cite this