COVID-19 and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis or COVID-19 mimicking eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis?

Rheumatol Int. 2021 Aug;41(8):1515-1521. doi: 10.1007/s00296-021-04896-2. Epub 2021 May 25.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) share similarities in clinical, imaging findings and may present with respiratory distress. Differentiating a new-onset EGPA from COVID-19 during the current pandemic is a diagnostic challenge, particularly if other EGPA symptoms are overlooked. Here in this study we reviewed the literature regarding EGPA patients with COVID-19 and patients who diagnosed with EGPA or suffered an EGPA flare mimicking COVID-19. We conducted a literature survey in PUBMED database using meshed keywords "COVID-19" and "EGPA", "COVID-19" and "eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis", "COVID-19" and "Churg Strauss Syndrome", to reveal previously reported cases involving EGPA patients who had COVID-19 infection, patients who suspected to have COVID-19 but eventually diagnosed with EGPA and patients with a known diagnosis of EGPA who suffered a flare but a COVID-19 infection was suspected initially. A total of 11 cases (6 literature cases, 5 cases from our clinic) were included in our study. Seven (63.6%) of the cases were defined as COVID-19 mimicker and 4 (36.4%) were EGPA with COVID-19. All of the cases in EGPA with COVID-19 group had a history of asthma. All of them had a positive PCR result and ground-glass opacities in thorax CT. In COVID-19 mimicker group, six (85.7%) patients had a history of asthma and other EGPA features that were observed were eosinophilia in 6 (85.7%). Our study provided clues regarding the EGPA/COVID-19 diagnostic challenge which may be useful in the current pandemic. Since none of the findings in COVID-19 are disease-specific, other conditions like EGPA should not be overlooked particularly in PCR negative patients and clinical, laboratory and imaging findings should be interpreted carefully. Furthermore, we did not observe poor outcomes in EGPA patients who had COVID-19.

Keywords: Churg strauss syndrome; Coronavirus disease 2019; Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis; Severe acute respiratory syndrome—coronavirus 2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • Churg-Strauss Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Churg-Strauss Syndrome / immunology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Young Adult