Covid-19 symptoms follow an order: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 15, 2020

A new study published in journal Frontiers in Public Health has concluded that the Covid-19 symptoms follow an order. The first symptom is fever, followed by cough, muscle pain, and then nausea, and/or vomiting, and diarrohea.

Study co-author Peter Kuhn, a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) in the US stated in the study: "This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of illnesses like the flu that coincide with infections of COVID-19."

Kuhn noted that this study may help doctors contain the virus before its effects get worsen in the patients.

Scientists have found the likely order in which Covid-19 symptoms first appear, an advance that may help clinicians rule out other diseases, and help patients seek care promptly or decide sooner to self-isolate.

This will also help in the reduction of number of hospitalized cases due to Covid-19.

The authors studied that order of symptoms from data collected in China of more than 55,000 patients by the World Health Organization.

They also studied data collected of around 1,100 cases from December 11, 2019, through January 29, 2020, by the China Medical Treatment Expert Group via the National Health Commission of China.

"The order of the symptoms matter. Knowing that each illness progresses differently means that doctors can identify sooner whether someone likely has Covid-19, or another illness, which can help them make better treatment decisions," said Joseph Larsen, study lead author.

"The first two symptoms of Covid-19, SARS, and MERS are fever and cough. However, the upper GI tract (nausea/vomiting) seems to be affected before the lower GI tract (diarrhoea) in Covid-19, which is the opposite from MERS and SARS," the scientists wrote in the study.

According to their study, a small portion of Covid-19 positive people initially suffered from diarrhoea.

"This report suggests that diarrohea as an early symptom indicates a more aggressive disease because each patient in this dataset that initially experienced diarrohea had pneumonia or respiratory failure eventually," the scientists wrote.

"The highest reported symptom is fever, followed by cough or dyspnea, and then finally, a small per cent of patients reported diarrhea. This order confirms the most likely paths that we have determined," they noted.

Published on August 15, 2020

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