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Coronavirus disease-2019: Is fever an adequate screening for the returning travelers?

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Abstract

On Thursday, 30 January 2020, World Health Organization declared Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-2019) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Since its identification in late December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, People's Republic of China, the number of cases imported into other countries is increasing, and the epidemiological map is changing rapidly. On the other hand, body temperature screening (fever) is the major test performed at points of entry, i.e., airports, in the returning travelers in most of the countries with limited resources. However, the recent report on asymptomatic contact transmission of COVID-19 and travelers who passed the symptoms-based screening and tested positive for COVID-19 using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) challenges this approach as body temperature screening may miss travelers incubating the disease or travelers concealing fever during travel. On this note, travel restrictions to and from high risk areas and/or 14 days quarantine of travelers coming from high risk areas are recommended to prevent possible importation of COVID-19. Currently, RT-PCR is a reliable test in detecting both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19.

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Bwire, G. M., & Paulo, L. S. (2020). Coronavirus disease-2019: Is fever an adequate screening for the returning travelers? Tropical Medicine and Health, 48(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41182-020-00201-2

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