Background: In March 2020, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. While great success in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) control has been achieved in China, imported cases have become a major challenge. This study aimed to describe the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of imported COVID-19 cases and to assess the effectiveness of screening strategy in Beijing, China.
Methods: This retrospective study included all imported COVID-19 cases from Beijing Ditan Hospital from 29 February to 20 March 2020, who were screened by both chest computed tomography (CT) and reverse-transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at initial presentation. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data, in addition to chest CT imaging were collected and analyzed.
Results: A total of 71 imported cases were finally diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. The cases were mainly acquired from Europe (63cases, 88.73%). The main clinical manifestations were fever and cough, which accounted for 30 cases (42.25%) and 35 cases (49.30%), respectively. Only 4 cases (5.63%) had lymphocytopenia and 13 (18.31%) cases demonstrated elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). All cases had normal serum levels of procalcitonin(PCT). 35 cases (49.30%) had abnormal CT findings at initial presentation, whereas 36 cases (50.70%) had a normal CT. Using RT-PCR, 59 cases (83.10%) were tested positive at initial presentation.
Conclusions: The combination of screening tools, particularly CT and RT-PCR, could be considered to improve the diagnosis in imported COVID-19 cases. Our findings provide the important information and clinical evidence for infection control of imported COVID-19 cases.