Early COVID-19 symptoms differ among age groups, research finds

Authors: King’s College London

Symptoms for early COVID-19 infection differ among age groups and between men and women, new research has found. These differences are most notable between younger age groups (16 to 59 years) compared to older age groups (60 to 80 years and over), and men have different symptoms compared to women in the early stages of COVID-19 infection.

The paper, published today in The Lancet Digital Health, and led by researchers from King’s College London analyses data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app between April 20th to 15th October 2020. App contributors are invited to get tested as soon as they report any new symptoms, thanks to a joint initiative with the Department of Health and Social Care. The researchers modelled the early signs of COVID-19 infection and successfully detected 80% of cases when using three days of self-reported symptoms.

Researchers compared the ability to predict early signs of COVID-19 infection using current National Health Service UK diagnostic criteria and a Hierarchical Gaussian Process model, a type of machine learning.

This machine learning model was able to incorporate some characteristics about the person affected, such as age, sex, and health conditions, and showed that symptoms of early COVID-19 infection are different among various groups.

18 symptoms were examined, which had different relevance for early detection in different groups. The most important symptoms for earliest detection of COVID-19 overall included loss of smell, chest pain, persistent cough, abdominal pain, blisters on the feet, eye soreness and unusual muscle pain. However, loss of smell lost significance in people over 60 years of age and was not relevant for subjects over 80. Other early symptoms such as diarrhoea were key in older age groups (60-79 and >80). Fever, while a known symptom of disease, was not an early feature of the disease in any age group.

For More Information: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210730165439.htm

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