Scientists decode likely order of COVID-19 symptoms
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According to the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, the likely order of symptoms in patients with COVID-19 is fever, followed by cough, muscle pain, and then nausea, and/or vomiting, and diarrhoea.

"This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of illnesses like the flu that coincide with infections of COVID-19," explained study author at the University of Southern California.

The researchers believe identifying patients earlier may reduce hospitalisation time since there are better approaches to treatments now for COVID-19 than during the beginning of the pandemic.

In the current study, the scientists predicted the order of symptoms from data on the rates of symptom incidence of more than 55,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in China.

To compare the order of COVID-19 symptoms to that of influenza, the scientists examined flu data from 2,470 cases.

"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 the research, a very small fraction of patients experienced diarrhoea as an initial symptom.

"This report suggests that diarrhoea as an early symptom indicates a more aggressive disease because each patient in this dataset that initially experienced diarrhoea 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 percent of patients reported diarrhoea," they noted.

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