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VOLUME 25 , ISSUE 7 ( July, 2021 ) > List of Articles

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance during the Initial Phase of the COVID-19 Outbreak in North India: A Comparison of COVID-19 to Other SARI Causes

Ashok K Pannu, Mohan Kumar, Pranjal Singh, Alan Shaji, Arnab Ghosh, Ashish Behera, Saurabh C Sharda, Mandeep Bhatia, Neeraj Singla, Mini P Singh, Atul Saroch

Keywords : COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Severe acute respiratory infection, Severity, Surveillance

Citation Information : Pannu AK, Kumar M, Singh P, Shaji A, Ghosh A, Behera A, Sharda SC, Bhatia M, Singla N, Singh MP, Saroch A. Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance during the Initial Phase of the COVID-19 Outbreak in North India: A Comparison of COVID-19 to Other SARI Causes. Indian J Crit Care Med 2021; 25 (7):761-767.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-23882

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 07-07-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.


Abstract

Introduction: World Health Organization proposes severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) case definition for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance; however, early differentiation between SARI etiologies remains challenging. We aimed to investigate the spectrum and outcome of SARI and compare COVID-19 to non-COVID-19 causes. Patients and methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted between March 15, 2020, to August 15, 2020, at an adult medical emergency in North India. SARI was diagnosed using a “modified” case definition—febrile respiratory symptoms or radiographic evidence of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome of ≤14 days duration, along with a need for hospitalization and in the absence of an alternative etiology that fully explains the illness. COVID-19 was diagnosed with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing. Results: In total, 95/212 (44.8%) cases had COVID-19. Community-acquired pneumonia (n = 57), exacerbation of chronic lung disease (n = 11), heart failure (n = 11), tropical febrile illnesses (n = 10), and influenza A (n = 5) were common non-COVID-19 causes. No between-group differences were apparent in age >60 years, comorbidities, oxygenation, leukocytosis, lymphopenia, acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE)-II score, CURB-65 score, and ventilator requirement at 24-hour. Bilateral lung distribution and middle-lower zones involvement in radiography predicted COVID-19. The median hospital stay was longer with COVID-19 (12 versus 5 days, p = 0.000); however, mortality was similar (31.6% versus 28.2%, p = 0.593). Independent mortality predictors were higher mean APACHE II in COVID-19 and early ventilator requirement in non-COVID-19 cases. Conclusions: COVID-19 has similar severity and mortality as non-COVID-19 SARI but requires an extended hospital stay. Including radiography in the SARI definition might improve COVID-19 surveillance.


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