Elucidating symptoms of COVID-19 illness in the Arizona CoVHORT: A longitudinal cohort study

Sana M. Khan, Leslie V. Farland, Collin J. Catalfamo, Erika Austhof, Melanie L. Bell, Zhao Chen, Felina Cordova-Marks, Kacey C. Ernst, Pamela Garcia-Filion, Kelly M. Heslin, Joshua Hoskinson, Megan L. Jehn, Emily C.S. Joseph, Connor P. Kelley, Yann Klimentidis, Stephanie Russo Carroll, Lindsay N. Kohler, Kristen Pogreba-Brown, Elizabeth T. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective To elucidate the symptoms of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases as compared with laboratory-confirmed negative individuals and to the untested general population among all participants who reported symptoms within a large prospective cohort study. Setting and design This work was conducted within the framework of the Arizona CoVHORT, a longitudinal prospective cohort study conducted among Arizona residents. Participants Eligible participants were any individual living in Arizona and were recruited from across Arizona via COVID-19 case investigations, participation in testing studies and a postcard mailing effort. Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary outcome measure was a comparison of the type and frequency of symptoms between COVID-19-positive cases, tested but negative individuals and the general untested population who reported experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Results Of the 1335 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, 180 (13.5%) reported having no symptoms. Of those that did report symptoms, the most commonly reported were fatigue (82.2%), headache (74.6%), aches, pains or sore muscles (66.3%), loss of taste or smell (62.8) and cough (61.9%). In adjusted logistic regression models, COVID-19-positive participants were more likely than negative participants to experience loss of taste and smell (OR 12.1; 95% CI 9.6 to 15.2), bone or nerve pain (OR 3.0; 95% CI 2.2 to 4.1), headache (OR 2.6; 95% CI 2.2 to 3.2), nausea (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.9 to 3.1) or diarrhoea (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.7 to 2.6). Fatigue (82.9) and headache (74.9) had the highest sensitivities among symptoms, while loss of taste or smell (87.2) and bone or nerve pain (92.9) had the high specificities among significant symptoms associated with COVID-19. Conclusion When comparing confirmed COVID-19 cases with either confirmed negative or untested participants, the pattern of symptoms that discriminates SARS-CoV-2 infection from those arising from other potential circulating pathogens may differ from general reports of symptoms among cases alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere053403
JournalBMJ open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 17 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • infectious diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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