Clinical features of COVID-19 in Ghana: symptomatology, illness severity and comorbid non-communicable diseases

  • Professor Alfred E Yawson Department of Community Health, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
  • Ebenezer Oduro-Mensah National COVID-19 Treatment Centre, Ga East Municipal Hospital, Ghana Health Service (GHS)
  • John Tetteh Department of Community Health, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
  • Isaac Adomako Department of Community Health, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
  • Evelyn Adjei-Mensah Department of Community Health, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
  • Christian Owoo Department of Anaesthesia, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
  • Anita O. Yawson Department of Anaesthesia, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Joseph A. Oliver-Commey LEKMA Hospital, La Dadekotopon Municipality, Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana
  • Peter Puplampu Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
  • Ali Samba Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Margaret Lartey Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Keywords: COVID-19, Symptoms, Illness severity Co-morbid conditions, Non-communicable Diseases, Ghana

Abstract

Objective: This analysis described the clinical features of COVID-19 in the early phase of the pandemic in Ghana.
Methods: Data were extracted from two national COVID-19 treatment centers in Ghana for over 11 weeks(from March to May 2020). Descriptive and inferential statistics were performed. Modified Ordered Logistic and Negative Binomial Regression analysis were applied to establish factors associated with illness severity and Non-communicable Disease (NCDs) counts respectively. All analysis was conducted at the 95% confidence level (p-value ≤ 0.05) using Stata 16.
Results: Among the 275 patients, the average age was 40.7±16.4, with a preponderance of males (54.5%). The three commonest symptoms presented were cough (21.3%), headache (15.7%), and sore throat (11.7%). Only 7.6% of the patients had a history of fever. Most patients were asymptomatic (51.65). Approximately 38.9% have an underlying co-morbid NCDs, with Hypertension (32.1%), Diabetes (9.9%), and Asthma (5.2%) being the three commonest. The odds of Moderate/severe (MoS) was significantly higher for those with unknown exposures to similar illness [aOR(95%CI) = 4.27(1.12-10.2)] compared with non-exposure to similar illness. An increased unit of NCD’s count significantly increased the odds of COVID-19 MoS illness by 26%[cOR(95%CI) =1.26(1.09-1.84)] and 67% (adjusting for age) [aOR(95%CI)=1.67(1.13-2.49)].
Conclusion: The presence of cardiovascular co-morbidities dictated the frequency of reported symptoms and severity of COVID-19 infection in this sample of Ghanaians. Physicians should be aware of the presence of co-morbid NCDs and prepare to manage effectively among COVID-19 patients.

Published
2020-12-31

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print ISSN: 0016-9560