- On June 13, the MOHFW released ‘Clinical Management Protocol: COVID-19’
- Report lists out 10 symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, diarrhoea
- Loss of smell or taste is the latest symptom of COVID-19 added by MOHFW
New Delhi: On Saturday (June 13), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare shared an updated version of its report titled ‘Clinical Management Protocol: COVID-19’. The report is a one-stop guide to understanding the Novel Coronavirus and lists out symptoms of COVID-19, risk factors, infection prevention and control practices, among other things. In its report, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare added a new symptom of COVID-19 – loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia) – in its existing list of symptoms.
According to the government, there are a total of 10 symptoms of COVID-19 – fever; cough; fatigue; shortness of breath; expectoration; myalgia (muscle pain); rhinorrhea (runny nose); sore throat; diarrhoea; loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia) preceding the onset of respiratory symptoms.
The MOHFW noted that the list of symptoms is based on the signs and symptoms reported by COVID-19 patients at various COVID treatment facilities.
However, on April 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a leading national public health institute of the United States had added six new symptoms of COVID-19 including ‘new loss of taste or smell’.
The six new symptoms according to CDC include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Earlier CDC had listed only three symptoms for the diagnosis of COVID-19 – fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.
In its report, the government has quoted the data of Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP)/ Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) portal case investigation forms for COVID-19 (n=15,366), and said that the details on the signs and symptoms reported (as on June 11) are fever (27 per cent), cough (21 per cent), sore throat (10 per cent), breathlessness (8 per cent), weakness (7 per cent), running nose (3 per cent) and others 24 per cent.
Older people and immune-suppressed patients, in particular, may present with atypical symptoms such as fatigue, reduced alertness, reduced mobility, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, delirium, and absence of fever. Children might not have reported fever or cough as frequently as adults, reads the report.
Talking to NDTV about varied symptoms of COVID-19 and new symptoms being added by varied health bodies, Dr Ravindra M. Mehta, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Apollo Hospitals Bengaluru, said,
Earlier MOHFW had stated symptoms of COVID-19 same as typical flu symptoms then ache and chills were added and now the loss of smell or taste has been formally incorporated. But this new symptom is not ideally new. It was flagged 6-8 weeks ago but there was a controversy that any virus can cause the loss of smell but then it became clear that in COVID season, if you get this, it’s an indicative of COVID-19 infection. These symptoms are brought to the forefront as something you should ask for when investigating for ILI (Influenza-like illness). The symptom has been verified by people and added now and reiterated to watch out for both patients and providers.
According to MOHFW, the persons infected by the novel coronavirus are the main source of infection. And the extent and role played by pre-clinical/ asymptomatic infections in transmission still remain under investigation.
Direct person-to-person transmission occurs through close contact, mainly through respiratory droplets that are released when the infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets may also land on surfaces, where the virus remains viable. Infection can also occur if a person touches an infected surface and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. The median incubation period is 5.1 days (range 2-14 days), says the government.
The precise interval during which an individual with COVID-19 is infectious is uncertain. As per the current evidence, the period of infectivity starts two days prior to the onset of symptoms and lasts up to 8 days, states the government in its report.