Differentials

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

Residence in/travel to a country/area or territory with local transmission, or close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, in the 14 days prior to symptom onset. 

Signs and symptoms are similar so it may be difficult to differentiate between the conditions clinically.

The situation is evolving rapidly; see our COVID-19 topic for further information.

INVESTIGATIONS

Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR): positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA.

It is not possible to differentiate COVID-19 from other causes of pneumonia on chest imaging.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

No dyspnea, no lung crackles, mild presentation. Often related to a viral upper respiratory tract infection.

INVESTIGATIONS

No consolidation on chest x-ray, with frequency related to viral infection.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

Peripheral edema, cardiomegaly, hypotension.

INVESTIGATIONS

Bilateral interstitial pattern or pleural effusions seen on chest x-ray.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

Increased expectoration and cough, and worsening of dyspnea against a background of COPD. Patient is often a smoker.

INVESTIGATIONS

Chest x-ray shows hyperinflation.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

Symptoms and signs of bronchospasm, with worsening of underlying lung disease.

INVESTIGATIONS

No consolidation on chest x-ray.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

Increased expectoration and cough, and worsening of dyspnea, with worsening of underlying lung disease. Infections are typically recurrent.

INVESTIGATIONS

No consolidation on chest x-ray.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

Typically a long history, often with constitutional symptoms. Many patients will have lived in an endemic area.

INVESTIGATIONS

Cavitation on chest x-ray, enlarged lymph nodes, positive purified protein derivative (PPD) skin testing.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

Constitutional symptoms are common.

INVESTIGATIONS

Consolidation on chest x-ray may be multiple, with pleural effusion commonly seen.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS
INVESTIGATIONS
SIGNS / SYMPTOMS

Constitutional symptoms are common, usually associated with a recent respiratory infection.

INVESTIGATIONS

Pleural effusion seen on chest x-ray. Microbiology of pleural fluid may reveal infecting organism.

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