HALF of Brits with key coronavirus symptoms may not have Covid-19, experts have warned.
Key symptoms of the virus include a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.
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A new study from Public Health England (PHE) revealed that around 500 key workers who reported symptoms of Covid did not test positive for the killer bug.
PHE conducted the study in June and tested key workers from sectors such as police, fire and health.
The researchers said the symptoms were not Covid and were down to other conditions.
The experts studied three key worker groups at six NHS hospitals and two police and fire rescue sites in England.
The third group included healthcare workers who had previously tested positive for Covid.
Ranya Mulchandani, a field epidemiology training programme fellow at PHE and the study’s lead author, said: “Although these findings are still subject to peer review, it is possible that a large number of people in the general population incorrectly believe that they have already had Covid-19.
“It is crucial that people do not get complacent and continue to observe government health advice, including social distancing and good hand hygiene, even if they think they have been infected in the past.”
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus you are advised to get a test as soon as possible.
You can get a test by applying online and you will either have to go to a testing site, or have a test posted out to you.
If you have the virus you will then have to self isolate.
As part of the study the team collected information on the self-reported signs and symptoms of Covid-19 and compared this with the results from two antibody tests.
Out of 2,847 participants, 943 (33 per cent) said they believe they had had Covid-19 based on their symptoms.
The researchers found that just 466 (49 per cent) of the participants tested negative for antibodies.
This suggests that it was “very unlikely” they had Covid.
The researchers also found that those testing negative had significantly earlier dates of symptom onset, shorter illness duration, and a much lower reporting frequency of the loss of taste and smell compared to individuals with antibodies.
Ms Mulchandani added: “In the course of this study, we tested just under a thousand people who thought they had had Covid-19 due to compatible symptoms.
“We found that half of them lacked any evidence of having had the infection, testing negative for the presence of antibodies.”