Share article:
Share article:

Up to 40% of coronavirus cases could be missed, study finds

Credit: Belga

Including headaches and fatigue in the list of common symptoms of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) could help detect up to 40% more cases, according to a UK-based testing study.

The research, published in the Journal of Infection, found that by including these symptoms to the official list and testing patients who develop them, there is a 92% chance that the virus will be detected, compared to a 69% chance when patients display commonly recognised symptoms.

“The key message from this study is that atypical Covid is much more common than people think,” research leader Edde Loeliger told De Volkskrant. “To our surprise, the complaint of fatigue is the most common. By adding that symptom, you add a large number of positives, without it taking a lot of extra testing,” she added.

Related News


In Belgium, fatigue is already recognised as a common indicator of the virus, alongside a cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle pains, a loss of sense of smell and taste, a sore throat and diarrhoea. A headache, however, is not.

The study also found that testing in the case of diarrhoea increases the chance of detecting the virus by 96%.

The scientific research, led by King’s College in London, relied on data gathered from over 120,000 people by the free Zoe Symptom Study app, which played a big role in identifying loss of smell and taste as symptoms of the illness.

Results showed that 75% of the people who tested positive for the virus had reported headaches as a symptom, and up to 80% complained they felt fatigued.

As both these symptoms are common to many other illnesses, people are often less likely to think that they are infected with the virus, and therefore may not get tested.

“There were quite a few respondents who said: ‘I had a headache and couldn’t come out of bed, but I didn’t consider it could be Covid’,” said Loeliger.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times

Latest news

European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...
23 million chickens and 1.7 million pigs: Climate experts call for livestock cut
Flander's livestock needs to be drastically cut to save the climate and reach the emission reduction targets, according to the latest advice from the ...
Vaccination uptake surges in Wallonia following CST announcement
The number of people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus increased fourfold in Wallonia after it was announced that the Covid Safe Ticket ...
Guilty by association
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES Weekly analysis and untold stories With SAM MORGAN Other Brussels behind the scenes stories: Brussels' bid to make ...
Health minister supports use of Covid Safe Ticket in workplace
As the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) has been expanded in Brussels and is set to in Wallonia, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has ...
Maggots show Conings may have lived longer following disappearance
Former army soldier Jürgen Conings, whose disappearance in mid-May resulted in a month-long manhunt, may have been alive for longer than has been ...