Diagnostic delays in Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus patients and health systems

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Abstract

Background: Although Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) diagnostic delays remain a major challenge in health systems, the source of delays has not been recognized in the literature. The aim of this study is to quantify patient and health-system delays and to identify their associated factors. Methods: The study of 266 patients was based on public source data from the World Health Organization (WHO) (January 2, 2017–May 16, 2018). The diagnostic delays, patient delays, and health-system delays were calculated and modelled using a Poisson regression analysis. Results: In 266 MERS-CoV patients reported during the study period, the median diagnostic delays, patient delays, and health-system delays were 5 days (interquartile [IQR] range: 3–8 days), 4 days (IQR range: 2–7 days), and 2 days (IQR range: 1–2 days), respectively. Both patient delay (r = 0.894, P = 0.001) and health-system delay (r = 0.163, P = 0.025) were positively correlated with diagnostic delay. Older age was associated with longer health-system delay (adjusted relative ratios (aRR), 1.011; 95% confidence intervals (CI), 1.004–1.017). Diagnostic delay (aRR, 1.137; 95% CI, 1.006–1.285) and health-system delays (aRR, 1.217; 95% CI, 1.003–1.476) were significantly longer in patients who died. Conclusion: Delays in MERS-CoV diagnosis exist and may be attributable to patient delay and health-system delay as both were significantly correlated with longer diagnosis delay. Early MERS-CoV diagnosis may require more sensitive risk assessment tools to reduce avoidable delays, specifically those related to patients and health system.

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APA

Ahmed, A. E. (2019). Diagnostic delays in Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus patients and health systems. Journal of Infection and Public Health, 12(6), 767–771. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jiph.2019.04.002

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