Criteria

World Health Organization: case definitions[147]

Suspect case

  • A. Patients with acute respiratory illness (i.e., fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease such as cough or shortness of breath) AND a history of travel to or residence in a location reporting community transmission of COVID-19 during the 14 days prior to symptom onset; OR

  • B. Patients with any acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case in the last 14 days prior to symptom onset; OR

  • C. Patients with severe acute respiratory illness (i.e., fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease such as cough or shortness of breath) AND requiring hospitalisation AND in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that fully explains the clinical presentation. 

Probable case

  • A. Suspect case for whom testing for the COVID-19 virus is inconclusive (inconclusive being the result of the test reported by the laboratory); OR

  • B. Suspect case for whom testing could not be performed for any reason.

Confirmed case

  • Patients with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms.

Definition of contact

  • A contact is a person who experienced any one of the following exposures during the 2 days before and the 14 days after the onset of symptoms of a probable or confirmed case:

    • Face-to-face contact with a probable or confirmed case within 1 metre (3 feet) and for more than 15 minutes

    • Direct physical contact with a probable or confirmed case

    • Direct care for a patient with probable or confirmed COVID-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment

    • Other situations as indicated by local risk assessments. 

  • Note: for confirmed asymptomatic cases, the period of contact is measured as the 2 days before through the 14 days after the date on which the sample was taken that led to confirmation.

WHO: global surveillance for COVID-19 caused by human infection with COVID-19 virus external link opens in a new window

Use of this content is subject to our disclaimer