Coronavirus symptoms: Cough most common in Australian cases, then fever

Cough is by far the most common symptom among Australian coronavirus cases, the Department of Health has reported, with half of people also reporting a fever.

Information about symptoms is available in 907 cases. Of those, more than two-thirds of people, 69 per cent, reported a cough. In more than 10 per cent of cases, cough was the only symptom.

Fifty per cent reported fever, according to the report. Forty-six per cent reported a sore throat, 36 per cent headache, and 28 per cent muscle pain. In 5 per cent, sore throat was the only symptom.

Only 2 per cent or fewer of the total had abdominal pain, pneumonia or acute respiratory disease.

The data is in the department's weekly epidemiology report, using case numbers to Sunday March 22. At that stage, there were 1765 cases. Since then numbers more than doubled, to 4093 on March 30.

Information on hospitalisation was available for only 40 per cent of cases, or 717 people. Of those, 190 had been hospitalised. Seventeen had been admitted to intensive care (although intensive care status was only recorded for 87 cases). Two cases needed ventilation.

At that stage seven people had died. Just over a week later, Australia has now recorded 18 deaths.

The ages of those who died, three men and four women, ranged from 78 to 94. The period between the date of illness onset and death ranged from 0 to 12 days.

The median age of people diagnosed with the disease was 48, with the highest proportions in the 20-29 and 60-69 age brackets.

Data on ages and sex is available from 3770 cases. That bigger data pool shows the split between men and women is roughly even, with 49 per cent of cases among women and 51 per cent in men - a more even spread than in the first 1500 cases which suggested a slightly higher number of women were getting infected, and more even still than the experience overseas, where 60 per cent of cases in China and Italy are among men.

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The biggest number of cases is among the 20-29 age group, which accounts for 20 per cent of all cases. The next biggest cohort, when split by decade, are 60 to 69 year olds, which make up 17 per cent of cases.

The case numbers, though, are influenced by who is being tested, with the government restricting testing for some weeks to people who had returned from overseas or been in contact with a known case, a restriction that would naturally favour diagnosis among travelling cohorts. Testing has been loosened a little to include health and aged care workers and some other groups.

The report, authored by the National Incident Room Surveillance Team, said genome sequences available for Australian cases suggested they had come from China, Iran, Europe and the United States.

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This story Here are the symptoms people with coronavirus are reporting first appeared on The Canberra Times.