Influenza versus COVID-19 cases among influenza-like illness patients in travelers from Wuhan to Hong Kong in January 2020

Jun Tao, Huizhi Gao, Shuying Zhu, Lin Yang, Daihai He

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Objective: The COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei, China, followed the seasonal influenza epidemic. Since some COVID-19 cases may have been misdiagnosed as seasonal influenza in January 2020, before testing capacity was adequate, it is relevant to study the proportions of influenza and COVID-19 cases among influenza-like-illness (ILI) patients and their temporal pattern. Results: This study analyzed the record of the ILI patients with a recent travel history to Wuhan who arrived in Hong Kong between 31 December 2019 and 21 January 2020. We found that the proportion of COVID-19 cases among the total ILI patients is much smaller than a study among ILI in Wuhan. This difference in proportion could be due to the difference in sampling. We argue that it is essential to consider both samples when inferring the number of COVID-19 cases from ILI patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-325
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Hong Kong
  • Influenza
  • Wuhan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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