Chinese experts have warned about the newly discovered symptoms of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which includes but not limited to diarrhoea, loss of appetite and nausea.
In three hospitals, 204 infected cases have been tested and results have been published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Experts said 48.5% of the cases suffer from digestive system problems as well as respiratory problems.
In some cases with only diarrhoea, no traces of high fever or coughing are observed. In cases with digestive system problems, the process from the first symptom to being hospitalised is 1.5 days longer — 9 in total — than cases with no digestive system problems.
The study also said cases with only respiratory problems recover faster than those with both. According to the researchers, nearly half of Covid-19 patients enrolled in the study conducted in the Hubei province presented digestive symptoms, such as diarrhoea and anorexia, and cited it as their chief complaint.
“Doctors should recognise that digestive symptoms, such as diarrhoea, maybe a presenting feature of Covid-19, and that the index of suspicion may need to be raised earlier in at-risk patients presenting with digestive symptoms rather than waiting for respiratory symptoms to emerge,” the researchers said.
The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China last December, and has spread to at least 163 countries and territories. The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Italy rose to more than 4,000 on Friday, outpacing China. The Italian health care system is now crumbling due to global pandemic. Medical professionals are working day and night to keep critically ill patients alive, while conditions similar to war have left doctors to decide who lives and who dies.
Frantic scenes have unfolded in the north of the country, particularly the hard-hit Lombardy region where the virus first erupted last month, as hospitals grapple to treat thousands of cases. The Chinese medical experts who are assisting Italy deal with the crisis have said the restrictions imposed in Lombardy are “not strict enough.”
The Italian government has now agreed that the army can be used to help implement the lockdown, the president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, told a news conference on Friday. “(The request to use the army) has been accepted… and 114 soldiers will be on the ground throughout Lombardy… it is still too little, but it is positive,” Fontana said. “Unfortunately we are not seeing a change of trend in the numbers, which are rising.”