Symptom- and Laboratory-Based Ebola Risk Scores to Differentiate Likely Ebola Infections

Oza, S.; Sesay, A.A.; Russell, N.J.; Wing, K.; Boufkhed, S.; Vandi, L.; Sebba, S.C.; Cummings, R.; Checchi, F.
Symptom- and Laboratory-Based Ebola Risk Scores to Differentiate Likely Ebola Infections
Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2017; 23(11):1792-1799

Rapidly identifying likely Ebola patients is difficult because of a broad case definition, overlap of symptoms with common illnesses, and lack of rapid diagnostics. However, rapid identification is critical for care and containment of contagion. We analyzed retrospective data from 252 Ebola-positive and 172 Ebola-negative patients at a Sierra Leone Ebola treatment center to develop easy-to-use risk scores, based on symptoms and laboratory tests (if available), to stratify triaged patients by their likelihood of having Ebola infection. Headache, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, and conjunctivitis comprised the symptom-based score. The laboratory-based score also included creatinine, creatine kinase, alanine aminotransferase, and total bilirubin. This risk score correctly identified 92% of Ebola-positive patients as high risk for infection; both scores correctly classified >70% of Ebola-negative patients as low or medium risk. Clinicians can use these risk scores to gauge the likelihood of triaged patients having Ebola while awaiting laboratory confirmation.