OBJECTIVE: The SARS-CoV-2 (or COVID-19) pandemic has been propagating since December 2019, inducing a drastic increase in the prevalence of anxious and depressive disorders in the general population . Psychological trauma can partly explain these disorders . However, since psychiatric disorders also have an immuno-inflammatory component, the direct effects of the virus on the host's immune system, with a marked inflammatory response, but also the secondary inflammation to these psychosocial stressors, may cause the apparition or the worsening of psychiatric disorders . We describe here the probable immunopsychiatric consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, to delineate possible screening actions and care that could be planned .
METHOD: Data from previous pandemics, and existing data on the psychopathological consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, allowed us to review the possible immunopsychiatric consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, on the gestational environment, with the risk of consecutive neurodevelopmental disorders for the fetus on one hand, on the children and adults directly infected being at increased risks of psychiatric disorders on the other hand .
RESULTS: As in previous pandemics, the activation of the immune system due to psychological stress and/or to infection during pregnancy, might lead to an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders for the fetus (schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders). Furthermore, in individuals exposed to psychological trauma and/or infected by the virus, the risk of psychiatric disorders, especially mood disorders, is probably increased .
CONCLUSION: In this context, preventive measures and specialized care are necessary . Thus, it is important to propose a close follow-up to the individuals who have been infected by the virus, in order to set up the earliest care possible . Likewise, in pregnant women, screening of mood disorders during the pregnancy or the postpartum period must be facilitated . The follow-up of the babies born during the pandemic must be strengthened to screen and care for possible neurodevelopmental disorders.