Differentiating influenza from COVID-19 in patients presenting with suspected sepsis

Link to article at PubMed

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2020 Dec 3. doi: 10.1007/s10096-020-04109-x. Online ahead of print.


There is a need for a quick assessment of severely ill patients presenting to the hospital. The objectives of this study were to identify clinical, laboratory and imaging parameters that could differentiate between influenza and COVID-19 and to assess the frequency and impact of early bacterial co-infection. A prospective observational cohort study was performed between February 2019 and April 2020. A retrospective cohort was studied early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients suspected of sepsis with PCR-confirmed influenza or SARS-CoV-2 were included. A multivariable logistic regression model was built to differentiate COVID-19 from influenza. In total, 103 patients tested positive for influenza and 110 patients for SARS-CoV-2, respectively. Hypertension (OR 6.550), both unilateral (OR 4.764) and bilateral (OR 7.916), chest X-ray abnormalities, lower temperature (OR 0.535), lower absolute leukocyte count (OR 0.857), lower AST levels (OR 0.946), higher LDH (OR 1.008), higher ALT (OR 1.044) and higher ferritin (OR 1.001) were predictive of COVID-19. Early bacterial co-infection was more frequent in patients with influenza (10.7% vs. 2.7%). Empiric antibiotic usage was high (76.7% vs. 84.5%). Several factors determined at presentation to the hospital can differentiate between influenza and COVID-19. In the future, this could help in triage, diagnosis and early management. Clinicaltrial.gov Identifier: NCT03841162.

PMID:33274416 | DOI:10.1007/s10096-020-04109-x

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