The study analyzed symptoms of more than 24,000 patients in nine countries and concluded that the list released by WHO at the beginning of the pandemic is accurate.
A study conducted by institutions in the United Kingdom and Belgium confirms the most common symptoms of Covid-19: persistent cough, fever, fatigue, loss of smell and difficulty breathing. Published in Plos One on Tuesday (23), the article confirms the symptoms already listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the beginning of the pandemic.
“The study gives confidence to the fact that we have been right in identifying the main symptoms and it can help determine who should get tested,” said Ryckie Wade, a surgeon and clinical researcher at the Leeds Institute of Medical Research, UK, who led the study.
To reach the conclusion, the researchers reviewed 148 studies and identified the most common symptoms among 24,410 patients from nine countries: China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Overall, 78% of the patients had a fever, 57% had a cough, 31% suffered from fatigue, 25% lost their sense of smell and 23% reported difficulty breathing. When analyzing data by country, researchers found different percentages in each region. In Singapore, for example, 72% had a fever, while only 32% of Koreans said they had this symptom.
When it comes to cough, South Korean patients also reported less: only 18%, while in the Netherlands the percentage of infected people who had this symptom reached 76%. According to the researchers, these variations are due, in part, to the way the data was collected in each country.
Among the patients who required hospitalization, 19% were sent to the intensive care unit (ICU), 17% needed non-invasive breathing assistance, 9% needed invasive ventilation and 2% used extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (an artificial lung).
The researchers also recognize that a large portion of those infected with the new coronavirus did not show any symptoms.