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Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 482-486

Neurological symptoms as initial manifestation of Covid-19 – An observational study


1 Department of Neurology, Sri Aurobindo Medical College and Post Graduate Institute, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Sri Aurobindo Medical College and Post Graduate Institute, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Rahul Jain
Department of Neurology (4th Floor), Sri Aurobindo Medical College and Post Graduate Institute, Indore.Ujjain Highway, Near MR-10 Crossing, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aian.AIAN_560_20

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Background: Respiratory system involvement and fever are considered as a cardinal manifestation of Covid-19 infection for the screening of case detection. We (India) are into the fourth month of Covid-19 and cases are still rising, this could mean that fever and respiratory symptoms may not be the only initial symptoms. Therefore, we intend to investigate whether neurological symptoms can precede the cardinal symptoms. Methods: Totally, 391 Covid-19 RTPCR positive hospitalized patients were enrolled. All included subjects were presented with a questionnaire pertaining to systemic symptoms. For analysis of the chronology of symptoms, the study population was sub-grouped according to onset of their systemic involvement e.g., (1) Fever (2) Respiratory symptoms (3) Neurological symptoms (4) Gastrointestinal symptoms. Results: New-onset neurological symptoms were found in 106 (27.1%) out of 391 patients irrespective of their chronology to the onset of other symptoms. Of these 106 patients, altered taste (33.1%), altered smell (24.5%), and headache (22.6%) were the most common neurological symptoms. However, 38 (9.7%) subjects recognized neurological symptoms, as the initial manifestation of their illness. Mean duration of neurological symptoms before the onset of respiratory symptoms or fever was 2 ± 1.57 days. Conclusion: New-onset headache, altered taste, and smell were the most common neurological symptoms. In the context of the current pandemic, a high index of suspicion should be kept in patients presenting with these symptoms even in the absence of fever and respiratory symptoms. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study from India comparing chronology of neurological symptoms with cardinal symptoms.


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