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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec 24

Sci Rep



Applying fuzzy qualitative comparative analysis to identify typical symptoms of COVID-19 infection in a primary care unit, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Rodrigues N C P, de Noronha Andrade M K, Netto J T, Monteiro D L M, Lino V T S, Almeida E G R
Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 24; 12(1):22319.
PMID: 36566326.


This study aims to identify a set of symptoms that could be predictive of SARS-CoV-2 cases in the triage of Primary Care services with the contribution of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) using Fuzzy Sets (fsQCA). A cross-sectional study was carried out in a Primary Health Care Unit/FIOCRUZ from 09/17/2020 to 05/05/2021. The study population was suspect cases that performed diagnostic tests for COVID-19. We collected information about the symptoms to identify which configurations are associated with positive and negative cases. For analysis, we used fsQCA to explain the outcomes "being a positive case" and "not being a positive case". The solution term "loss of taste or smell and no headache" showed the highest degree of association with the positive result (consistency = 0.81). The solution term "absence of loss of taste or smell combined with the absence of fever" showed the highest degree of association (consistency = 0,79) and is the one that proportionally best explains the negative result. Our results may be useful to the presumptive clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 in scenarios where access to diagnostic tests is not available. We used an innovative method used in complex problems in Public Health, the fsQCA.