Epidemiological and Clinical Characteristics of Cases During the Early Phase of COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Link to article at PubMed

Koh J, et al. Front Med (Lausanne) 2020.


Background: On 29th December 2019, a cluster of cases displaying the symptoms of a "pneumonia of unknown cause" was identified in Wuhan, Hubei province of China. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to review the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of COVID-19 cases in the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The search strategy involved peer-reviewed studies published between 1st January and 11th February 2020 in Pubmed, Google scholar and China Knowledge Resource Integrated database. Publications identified were screened for their title and abstracts according to the eligibility criteria, and further shortlisted by full-text screening. Three independent reviewers extracted data from these studies, and studies were assessed for potential risk of bias. Studies comprising non-overlapping patient populations, were included for qualitative and quantitative synthesis of results. Pooled prevalence with 95% confidence intervals were calculated for patient characteristics. Results: A total of 29 publications were selected after full-text review. This comprised of 18 case reports, three case series and eight cross-sectional studies on patients admitted from mid-December of 2019 to early February of 2020. A total of 533 adult patients with pooled median age of 56 (95% CI: 49-57) and a pooled prevalence of male of 60% (95% CI: 52-68%) were admitted to hospital at a pooled median of 7 days (95% CI: 7-7) post-onset of symptoms. The most common symptoms at admission were fever, cough and fatigue, with a pooled prevalence of 90% (95% CI: 81-97%), 58% (95% CI: 47-68%), and 50% (95% CI: 29-71%), respectively. Myalgia, shortness of breath, headache, diarrhea and sore throat were less common with pooled prevalence of 27% (95% CI: 20-36%), 25% (95% CI: 15-35%), 10% (95% CI: 7-13%), 8% (95% CI: 5-13%), and 7% (95% CI: 1-15%), respectively. ICU patients had a higher proportion of shortness of breath at presentation, as well as pre-existing hypertension, cardiovascular disease and COPD, compared to non-ICU patients in 2 studies (n = 179). Conclusion: This study highlights the key epidemiological and clinical features of COVID-19 cases during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMID:32596248 | PMC:PMC7300278 | DOI:10.3389/fmed.2020.00295

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