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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 280-284

Predictive ability of symptomatology in COVID-19 during Active case search in Lagos State, Nigeria

1 Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Lagos State University College of Medicine, Lagos, Nigeria
3 Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Lagos, Nigeria
4 Lagos State Ministry of Health, Lagos, Nigeria
5 Lagos State Health Management Agency, Lagos, Nigeria
6 Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria
7 Mainland Hospital, Yaba Lagos State, Lagos, Nigeria
8 Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria
9 World Health Organisation, Nigerian Office, Lagos, Nigeria
10 College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
11 African Field Epidemiology Network, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Akin Osibogun
Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_237_20

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Background: In April 2020, a community-based active case search surveillance system of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was developed by the emergency outbreak committee in Lagos State. This followed the evidence of community transmission of coronavirus disease in the twenty Local Government Areas in Lagos State. This study assessed the value of respiratory and other symptoms in predicting positive SARS-CoV-2 using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). It is hoped that if symptoms are predictive, they can be used in screening before testing. Methods: Communities were included based on the alerts from community members through the rumour alert system set up by the state. All members of the households of the communities from where the alert came were eligible. Household members who declined to participate were excluded from the study. A standardised interviewer-administered electronic investigation form was used to collect sociodemographic information, clinical details and history for each possible case. Data was analysed to see the extent of agreement or correlation between reported symptoms and the results of PCR testing for SARS-COV-2. Results: A total of 12,739 persons were interviewed. The most common symptoms were fever, general weakness, cough and difficulty in breathing. Different symptoms recorded different levels of sensitivity as follows: fever, 28.9%; cough, 21.7%; general body weakness, 10.9%; and sore throat, 10.9%. Sensitivity and specificity for fever, the most common symptom, were 28.3% and 50.2%, respectively, while similar parameters for general body weakness, the next most common symptom, were 10.9% and 73.2%, respectively. Conclusion: From these findings, the predictive ability of symptoms for COVID-19 diagnosis was extremely weak. It is unlikely that symptoms alone will suffice to predict COVID-19 in a patient. An additional measure, such as confirmatory test by RT-PCR testing, is necessary to confirm the disease.

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