Background: Confirmed COVID-19 cases have been registered in more than 200 countries, and as of July 28, 2020, over 16 million cases have been reported to the World Health Organization. This study was conducted during the epidemic peak of COVID-19 in Italy. The early identification of individuals with suspected COVID-19 is critical in immediately quarantining such individuals. Although surveys are widely used for identifying COVID-19 cases, outcomes, and associated risks, no validated epidemiological tool exists for surveying SARS-CoV-2 infection in the general population. Objective: We evaluated the capability of self-reported symptoms in discriminating COVID-19 to identify individuals who need to undergo instrumental measurements. We defined and validated a method for identifying a cutoff score. Methods: Our study is phase II of the EPICOVID19 Italian national survey, which launched in April 2020 and included a convenience sample of 201,121 adults who completed the EPICOVID19 questionnaire. The Phase II questionnaire, which focused on the results of nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) and serological tests, was mailed to all subjects who previously underwent NPS tests. Results: Of 2703 subjects who completed the Phase II questionnaire, 694 (25.7%) were NPS positive. Of the 472 subjects who underwent the immunoglobulin G (IgG) test and 421 who underwent the immunoglobulin M test, 22.9% (108/472) and 11.6% (49/421) tested positive, respectively. Compared to NPS-negative subjects, NPS-positive subjects had a higher incidence of fever (421/694, 60.7% vs 391/2009, 19.5%; P<.001), loss of taste and smell (365/694, 52.6% vs 239/2009, 11.9%; P<.001), and cough (352/694, 50.7% vs 580/2009, 28.9%; P<.001). With regard to subjects who underwent serological tests, IgG-positive subjects had a higher incidence of fever (65/108, 60.2% vs 43/364, 11.8%; P<.001) and pain in muscles/bones/joints (73/108, 67.6% vs 71/364, 19.5%; P<.001) than IgG-negative subjects. An analysis of self-reported COVID-19 symptom items revealed a 1-factor solution, the EPICOVID19 diagnostic scale. The following optimal scores were identified: 1.03 for respiratory problems, 1.07 for chest pain, 0.97 for loss of taste and smell 0.97, and 1.05 for tachycardia (ie, heart palpitations). These were the most important symptoms. For adults aged 18-84 years, the cutoff score was 2.56 (sensitivity: 76.56%; specificity: 68.24%) for NPS-positive subjects and 2.59 (sensitivity: 80.37%; specificity: 80.17%) for IgG-positive subjects. For subjects aged ≥60 years, the cutoff score was 1.28, and accuracy based on the presence of IgG antibodies improved (sensitivity: 88.00%; specificity: 89.58%). Conclusions: We developed a short diagnostic scale to detect subjects with symptoms that were potentially associated with COVID-19 from a wide population. Our results support the potential of self-reported symptoms in identifying individuals who require immediate clinical evaluations. Although these results come from the Italian pandemic period, this short diagnostic scale could be optimized and tested as a screening tool for future similar pandemics.

Rapid COVID-19 screening based on self-reported symptoms: Psychometric assessment and validation of the EPICOVID19 short diagnostic scale

Trevisan C.;
2021

Abstract

Background: Confirmed COVID-19 cases have been registered in more than 200 countries, and as of July 28, 2020, over 16 million cases have been reported to the World Health Organization. This study was conducted during the epidemic peak of COVID-19 in Italy. The early identification of individuals with suspected COVID-19 is critical in immediately quarantining such individuals. Although surveys are widely used for identifying COVID-19 cases, outcomes, and associated risks, no validated epidemiological tool exists for surveying SARS-CoV-2 infection in the general population. Objective: We evaluated the capability of self-reported symptoms in discriminating COVID-19 to identify individuals who need to undergo instrumental measurements. We defined and validated a method for identifying a cutoff score. Methods: Our study is phase II of the EPICOVID19 Italian national survey, which launched in April 2020 and included a convenience sample of 201,121 adults who completed the EPICOVID19 questionnaire. The Phase II questionnaire, which focused on the results of nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) and serological tests, was mailed to all subjects who previously underwent NPS tests. Results: Of 2703 subjects who completed the Phase II questionnaire, 694 (25.7%) were NPS positive. Of the 472 subjects who underwent the immunoglobulin G (IgG) test and 421 who underwent the immunoglobulin M test, 22.9% (108/472) and 11.6% (49/421) tested positive, respectively. Compared to NPS-negative subjects, NPS-positive subjects had a higher incidence of fever (421/694, 60.7% vs 391/2009, 19.5%; P<.001), loss of taste and smell (365/694, 52.6% vs 239/2009, 11.9%; P<.001), and cough (352/694, 50.7% vs 580/2009, 28.9%; P<.001). With regard to subjects who underwent serological tests, IgG-positive subjects had a higher incidence of fever (65/108, 60.2% vs 43/364, 11.8%; P<.001) and pain in muscles/bones/joints (73/108, 67.6% vs 71/364, 19.5%; P<.001) than IgG-negative subjects. An analysis of self-reported COVID-19 symptom items revealed a 1-factor solution, the EPICOVID19 diagnostic scale. The following optimal scores were identified: 1.03 for respiratory problems, 1.07 for chest pain, 0.97 for loss of taste and smell 0.97, and 1.05 for tachycardia (ie, heart palpitations). These were the most important symptoms. For adults aged 18-84 years, the cutoff score was 2.56 (sensitivity: 76.56%; specificity: 68.24%) for NPS-positive subjects and 2.59 (sensitivity: 80.37%; specificity: 80.17%) for IgG-positive subjects. For subjects aged ≥60 years, the cutoff score was 1.28, and accuracy based on the presence of IgG antibodies improved (sensitivity: 88.00%; specificity: 89.58%). Conclusions: We developed a short diagnostic scale to detect subjects with symptoms that were potentially associated with COVID-19 from a wide population. Our results support the potential of self-reported symptoms in identifying individuals who require immediate clinical evaluations. Although these results come from the Italian pandemic period, this short diagnostic scale could be optimized and tested as a screening tool for future similar pandemics.
2021
Bastiani, L.; Fortunato, L.; Pieroni, S.; Bianchi, F.; Adorni, F.; Prinelli, F.; Giacomelli, A.; Pagani, G.; Maggi, S.; Trevisan, C.; Noale, M.; Jesuthasan, N.; Sojic, A.; Pettenati, C.; Andreoni, M.; Incalzi, R. A.; Galli, M.; Molinaro, S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2494484
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