COVID-19 Cases Among Patients With Respiratory Issue on Rise: ICMR

COVID-19 containment activities need to be done in districts reporting COVID-19 cases among SARI patients, ICMR said

2 min read
COVID-19 Cases Among Patients With Respiratory Issue on Rise: ICMR

Research done by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) shows some worrying COVID-19 related data. A report released by ICMR on Friday, 10 April, says that the number of positive cases among people with severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) has increased over the last month.

ICMR tested a total of 5, 911 SARI patients for COVID-19 from 15 February to 2 April. Out of which, 104 patients - amounting to 1.8% - tested positive. These cases were reported from 52 districts in 20 states and union territories.

COVID-19 positivity among SARI patients was 0 per cent before mid-march and then it rose to 2.6 per cent from 29 March to 2 April.

"The COVID-19 positivity was higher among males and patients aged above 50 years", said ICMR.

Another factor worth noting is that some of these people didn't have travel history or report of any contact history with a coronavirus positive case

ICMR said,

“In all, 40 COVID-19 cases (39.2 per cent) did not report any history of contact with a known case or international travel.”

It's important to note that the testing of 965 SARI patients done by ICMR between 15 February to 29 February and on 19 March, showed 0.2% were COVID-19 positive.

The research study further said, "When the COVID testing strategy was expanded to include all SARI patients, a total of 4946 samples yielded 102 (2.1%) cases. The positivity increased from zero during the initial weeks to 2.6 percent in the 14th week."

In conclusion to the research, ICMR noted that COVID-19 containment activities need to be targeted in districts reporting COVID-19 cases among SARI patients.

It further said,

“Intensifying sentinel surveillance for COVID-19 among SARI patients may be an efficient tool to effectively use resources towards containment and mitigation efforts.”

Other crucial observations from the report:

  • Of the 102 COVID-19 positive SARI patients, 40 (39.2%) did not report any history of contact or international travel, two (2.0%) reported contact with a confirmed case and one (1.0%) reported recent history of international travel. For the remaining 59 people, there is no available data.
  • Majority of the SARI patients were tested from Gujarat (792), Tamil Nadu (577), Maharashtra (553) and Kerala (502) with COVID-19 positivity of 1.6, 0.9, 3.8 and 0.2 percent, respectively.
  • About a third of COVID-19 positive SARI cases did not have any history of contact with the laboratory-confirmed case or international travel, and such cases were reported from 36 Indian districts in 15 States.

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