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Why are people with COVID-19 symptoms not tested?

Why are people with COVID-19 symptoms not tested?

Sign in to a COVID-19 testing center in the UK Credit: Joshua Lawrence, Unsplash, CC0 (creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)

Mild symptoms, poor knowledge of nearby testing sites and certain demographic factors as barriers to COVID-19 testing, according to a new study of more than 4 million adults in the UK published this week in the open-access journal PLOS Global has been recognized. Public Health by Christina M. Astley of Boston Children’s Hospital, US, and colleagues from King’s College London. Testing is an important component of the COVID-19 public health response, even as countries are running vaccination campaigns. In the UK, a free PCR COVID-19 test is offered to people with any of three symptoms: a high temperature, a new, persistent cough, or a change in their sense of smell or taste. However, in the UK more than a quarter of people who report these symptoms are not tested.

In the new study, Astley and his colleagues analyzed data from 4.3 million people enrolled in the UK Zoo COVID Symptom Study, which uses a smartphone app to self-report COVID symptoms and test results. They sent a follow-up survey in late 2020 to nearly 5,000 people who reported COVID-19 symptoms but did not take any tests. The researchers also studied more than 700,000 responses received between April 2020 and February 2021 from UK participants of the University of Maryland Global COVID-19 Trends and Impact Surveys (UMD-CTIs), a survey conducted partly on Facebook. is survey.

The proportion of Zoe participants reporting COVID-19 testing among those reporting symptoms has increased over time, the study found, from less than 20% in April 2020 to more than 70% in January 2021. A symptomatic person was more likely to not test, compared to those with only one symptom (27.1% versus 14.6%, p.)

The authors conclude that more efforts and better messaging are needed to educate the UK public about testing recommendations. The findings, they say, support the need for targeted messaging to certain at-risk demographic groups, and emphasize that even individuals with mild or transient symptoms may have COVID-19 and should be tested.

The authors say: “Knowing when and where to test is critical to preventing COVID-19 transmission, yet one in four people in the UK with test-worthy symptoms of fever, cough, or loss of smell were not tested. This shows that more effective learning is needed to close the testing gap.

These findings also have international public health implications. Test uptake in the UK can be relatively high compared to other regions, as it has free testing, clear and consistent symptom criteria and a national booking infrastructure. This suggests that even more efforts may be needed to address knowledge barriers in countries with more fragmented testing infrastructure or more nuanced testing criteria.”


Researchers call for lack of smell to be recognized globally as a symptom of COVID-19


more information:
Graham MS, May A, Versavsky T, Sudrey CH, Murray B, Klaser K, et al. (2022) Knowledge barriers in the national symptomatic-COVID-19 testing programme. PLOS Globe Public Health 2(1): E0000028. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000028

Provided by Public Library of Science

CitationWhy are people with COVID-19 symptoms not tested? (2022, January 19) Retrieved on January 19, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-01-dont-people-covid-symptoms.html.

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