2019 Volume 72 Issue 3 Pages 160-167
There is a paucity of data regarding the differentiating characteristics of patients with laboratory-confirmed and those negative for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in South Korea. This hospital-based retrospective study compared MERS-CoV-positive and MERS-CoV-negative patients. A total of seven positive patients and 55 negative patients with a median age of 43 years (P = 0.845) were included. No statistical differences were observed with respect to their sex and the presence of comorbidities. At the time of admission, headache (28.6% vs. 3.6%; odds ratio [OR], 10.60; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22–92.27), myalgia (57.1% vs. 9.1%; OR, 13.33; 95% CI, 2.30–77.24), and diarrhea (57.1% vs. 14.5%; OR, 7.83; 95% CI, 1.47–41.79) were common among MERS-CoV-positive patients. MERS-CoV-positive patients were more likely to have a low platelet count (164 ± 76.57 vs. 240 ± 79.87) and eosinophil (0.27 ± 0.43 vs. 2.13 ± 2.01; P = 0.003). Chest radiography with diffuse bronchopneumonia was more frequent in MERS-CoV-positive patients than in negative patients (100% vs. 62.5%; P = 0.491). The symptoms of headache, myalgia, and diarrhea, as well as laboratory characteristics, including low platelet counts and eosinophil, and chest X-ray showing diffuse bronchopneumonia might enhance the ability to detect patients in South Korea infected with MERS-CoV.