Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of discharged patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 on the Qinghai Plateau

Aiqi Xi, Ma Zhuo, Jingtao Dai, Yuehe Ding, Xiuzhen Ma, Xiaoli Ma, Xiaoyi Wang, Lianmeng Shi, Huanying Bai, Hongying Zheng, Eric Nuermberger, Jian Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first reported in Wuhan, a series of confirmed cases of COVID-19 were found on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. We aimed to describe the epidemiological, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of all confirmed cases in Qinghai, a province at high altitude. The region had no sustained local transmission. Of all 18 patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, 15 patients comprising four transmission clusters were identified. Three patients were infected by direct contact without travel history to Wuhan. Of 18 patients, 10 patients showed bilateral pneumonia and two patients showed no abnormalities. Three patients with comorbidities such as hypertension, liver diseases, or diabetes developed severe illness. High C-reactive protein levels and elevations of both alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase were observed in three severely ill patients on admission. All 18 patients were eventually discharged, including the three severe patients who recovered after treatment with noninvasive mechanical ventilation, convalescent plasma, and other therapies. Our findings confirmed human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in clusters. Patients with comorbidities are more likely to develop severe illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2528-2535
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • clinical characteristics
  • epidemiological
  • plateau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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