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Prevalence and clinical features of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Fever Clinic of a teaching hospital in Beijing: a single-center, retrospective study

By Ying Liang, Jingjin Liang, Qingtao Zhou, Xiaoguang Li, Fei Lin, Zhonghua Deng, Biying Zhang, Lu Li, Xiaohua Wang, Hong Zhu, Qingbian Ma, Xiaomei Tong, Jie Xu, Yongchang Sun

Posted 27 Feb 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.25.20027763

BackgroundWith the spread of COVID-19 from Wuhan, Hubei Province to other areas of the country, medical staff in Fever Clinics faced the challenge of identifying suspected cases among patients with respiratory infections manifested with fever. We aimed to describe the prevalence and clinical features of COVID-19 as compared to pneumonias of other etiologies in a Fever Clinic in Beijing. MethodsIn this single-center, retrospective study, 342 cases of pneumonia were diagnosed in Fever Clinic in Peking University Third Hospital between January 21 to February 15, 2020. From these patients, 88 were reviewed by panel discussion as possible or probable cases of COVID-19, and received 2019-nCoV detection by RT-PCR. COVID-19 was confirmed by positive 2019-nCoV in 19 cases, and by epidemiological, clinical and CT features in 2 cases (the COVID-19 Group, n=21), while the remaining 67 cases served as the non-COVID-19 group. Demographic and epidemiological data, symptoms, laboratory and lung CT findings were collected, and compared between the two groups. FindingsThe prevalence of COVID-19 in all pneumonia patients during the study period was 6.14% (21/342). Compared with the non-COVID-19 group, more patients with COVID-19 had an identified epidemiological history (90.5% versus 32.8%, P<0.001). The COVID-19 group had lower WBC [5.19x109/L ({+/-}1.47) versus 7.21x109/L ({+/-}2.94), P<0.001] and neutrophil counts [3.39x109/L ({+/-}1.48) versus 5.38x109/L ({+/-}2.85), P<0.001] in peripheral blood. However, the count of lymphocytes was not different. On lung CT scans, involvement of 4 or more lobes was more common in the COVID-19 group (45% versus 16.4%, P=0.008). InterpretationIn the period of COVID-19 epidemic outside Hubei Province, the prevalence of COVID-19 in patients with pneumonia visiting to our Fever Clinic in Beijing was 6.14%. Epidemiological evidence was important for prompt case finding, and lower blood WBC and neutrophil counts may be useful for differentiation from pneumonia of other etiologies. FundingNone.

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