Clinical and Epidemiology Characteristics of COVID-19 Cases Detected During Mass Screening Campaign from July to October 2020 in Bujumbura, Burundi

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Edouard Nkunzimana
Jean Claude Bizimana
Adolphe Ndoreraho
Liesse Iteka
Pascal Butoyi
Ouedraogo Leopold
Joseph Nyandwi


Background: Coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2 Virus). It was reported for the first time in Wuhan city, Hubei province of China. The first cases of COVID-19 in Burundi were identified on 31st March 2020. Several signs and symptoms, including mainly; fever, dry cough, fatigue, myalgia, and dyspnea are the most prominent characteristics of the disease. The aim of this study was to provide description of the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 cases identified during the mass screening campaign conducted between July and October, 2020 in Burundi.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective secondary analysis of data of clients to the mass screening campaign in Bujumbura city that was run between July and October 2020. Clients with complete data and tested for COVID-19 with Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) were included in the study. Epi-Info was used to perform descriptive and analytical statistics and Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) was used for cases mapping.Association between positive cases and independent variables such as sex, history of contact with confirmed COVID-19 case was measured using X2 statistical test at a p-value of .05.
Results: The study included 20,114 participants. 243 (1.2%) were tested positive for COVID-19. The mean age for confirmed cases was 33 (±15) years. The majority of cases (72.8%) were between 20 and 59 years of age and they were predominantly males (67.9%). 164 (67.5%) were symptomatic and cough was the most frequent symptom observed 109 (66.5%), followed by rhinorrhea 69 (42.1%). Fever was present in only 18 (11.0%) of symptomatic patients. Participants with a history of contact with a COVID-19 confirmed case (aOR=2.2; 95%CI [1.6-3.0]; p-value <.001), were more likely to be positive for COVID-19. Also, those who were coughing (aOR=1.47; 95%CI [1.06-2.05]; p-value=.023) and having sore throat (aOR=2.4; 95%CI [1.1-4.9]; p-value=.02) were more likely to test positive for COVID-19.
Conclusion: This study revealed that a significant proportion (32.5%) of COVID-19 patients were silent carriers of the virus. Data highlighted that high proportion of cases were among the active age group and contacts with confirmed cases, and noted high proportion of asymptomatic cases at diagnosis. Measures including routine testing of asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases could contribute to tackling corona virus in Burundi.

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