Research finds fever to be the most common non-respiratory feature of SARS-CoV-2 infection

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Fever was found to be the most common non-respiratory feature of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to research published at the ATS 2023 International Conference.  The finding held true regardless of which COVID variant patients had, and whether or not they were fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. The researchers, who also looked at mortality risk, found that patients who were not fully vaccinated had a higher risk of dying when infected with either the Omicron or Delta variant.

The study was based on the examination of the University of California Health Covid Research Data Set's (UC CORDS) medical records of 63,454 patients who had been treated in a University of California medical center for COVID-19. The scientists applied statistical tests to determine the relationship between non-respiratory features, vaccination status and differences in mortality between infection with the Omicron and Delta variants.

We determined that we would conduct this study because the scientific literature has shown that, although COVID is a respiratory disease, it affects multiple organ systems. We wanted to determine which organ systems and features were most affected by the different SARS-CoV-2 variants, which were more likely to lead to death, and the effect of being vaccinated or not fully vaccinated."

Shannon Cotton, BSN, RN, CCRN, corresponding author, ICU nurse, UC San Diego Health and nursing science PhD student and Behrens Fellow, Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing, UC Irvine

She added: "We found that the risk of developing non-respiratory features of COVID-19 was statistically higher in those who were not fully vaccinated, across all variants."

Heart disease was statistically higher in those not fully vaccinated at the time that Omicron was dominant. Specifically, tachycardia-;a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute-;was found in more individuals not fully vaccinated during the surges of both Omicron and Delta.

In addition, both diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) were features of all variants, regardless of vaccination status.

"Our findings speak to the importance of vaccination as the odds of dying were significantly increased in those not fully vaccinated," emphasized Ms. Cotton.

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