Day-by-day symptoms following positive and negative PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 in non-hospitalized healthcare workers: A 90-day follow-up study

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OBJECTIVE: We aimed to compare symptoms day by day for non-hospitalised individuals tested positive and negative for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

METHODS: We followed 210 test-positive and 630 test-negative health-care workers of the Central Denmark Region up to 90 days after the test, April-June 2020. They daily reported COVID-19 related symptoms that were compared graphically and by logistic regression.

RESULTS: Thirty % of test-positive and close to zero of test-negative participants reported reduced sense of taste and smell during all 90 days (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 86.07, 95% CI 22.86-323). Dyspnoea was reported by an initial 20% of test-positive declining to 5% after 30 days without ever reaching the level of the test-negative participants (aOR 6.88, 95% CI 2.41-19.63). Cough, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, and fever were temporarily more prevalent among the test positive participants; after 30 days, no increases were seen. Women and older participants were more susceptible to COVID-19 symptoms.

CONCLUSION: Prevalence of long-lasting reduced sense of taste and smell is highly increased in mild COVID-19 patients. This pattern is also seen for dyspnoea at a low level but not for cough, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, or fever.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Sider (fra-til)382-390
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2021

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Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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