Warning coronavirus going undetected because of other symptoms

Clinical staff wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they care for a patent at the Intensive Care unit at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, Britain. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL / POOL

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Coronavirus may be going undetected in one in four people with symptoms, because they exhibit signs of the virus other than a persistent cough or high temperature, ministers have been warned.

Scientists on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), which has been helping to shape the Government’s response to Covid-19, expressed concern that individuals with only lesser-known symptoms, such as a loss of smell, fatigue, or muscle ache, may not be self-isolating and receiving tests for the disease.

Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, who sits on Nervtag, said it was important that patients and doctors had a “wider perception” of how coronavirus can present itself. He also pointed out that the swab test typically used to establish whether a patient has Covid-19 may be less likely to detect infection in cases where the disease is primarily causing symptoms elsewhere in the body, such as the digestive system, rather than the nose and lungs.

Official guidance describes “new continuous cough and/or high temperature” as the “most common symptoms”, and states that those with such symptoms should stay at home for seven days.

But Flusurvey, a system run by Public Health England using data from more than 8,000 people, shows a greater number of people reporting a loss of smell than those stating that they have a combination of a fever and a cough.

Read more via The Telegraph

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