Exergen: New CDC Study Reinforces Need For Accurate Temperature Taking When Screening For COVID-19
WATERTOWN, Mass., April 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, there remains a disregard of proven science when it comes to how people, especially large groups in public spaces, are being screened for fever, the leading symptom of COVID-19. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that nearly 90% (87.3%) of recipients of positive PCR tests showed symptoms, including fever.
In most public screening settings, non-contact infrared thermometers (NCITs) are largely being used to take people's temperatures. Yet a recent study1 published by scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland shows that NCITs are inaccurate and should not be used for public health screenings. Additional research supports this, with studies2 showing they miss as many as 9 out of 10 fevers. These inaccurate thermometers create a false sense of security because they look like they are effectively screening for fever, when in fact, they are nothing more than show.
It has been proven throughout this pandemic that COVID-19 is transmitted by people showing symptoms, like fever. People who are asymptomatic pose little to no risk. JAMA Network recently published a meta-analysis3 that shows symptomatic people who test positive for COVID are 26 times more likely to transmit the virus than those who are asymptomatic. Given these correlations, nothing matters more than getting an accurate temperature reading when screening for COVID-19.
"From the start, there's been a false assumption that non-contact thermometers are accurate, yet study after study proves this is simply not the case. These thermometers are being used to convey a sense of safety and security, and nothing could be further from the truth," said Francesco Pompei, Ph.D., CEO of Exergen Corporation. "We cannot afford the false high and low temperatures that come with non-contact thermometers, and they must be removed from the equation."
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1 Wright and Mackowiak 2021. Why temperature screening for coronavirus disease 2019 with noncontact infrared thermometers does not work. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Volume 8, Issue 1, January 2021, ofaa603, https://doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofaa603.
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