New study says non-contact infrared thermometers are not successful as COVID-19 screeners

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One of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is being sick with fever, whereas a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine describes that temperature screening, primarily done with a non-contact infrared thermometer is not an effective strategy to staunch the spread of COVID-19 virus.

According to an editorial published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases, the online journal of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the first aspect of COVID-19 screening by the temperature that the researchers questioned was when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S.Centres for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines for Americans to determine if they needed to seek medical attention for symptoms suggestive of infection with SARS-CoV-2, with temperature screening.

According to the guidelines, fever is defined as a temperature taken with an NCIT near the forehead — of greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38.0 degrees Celsius) for non-healthcare settings and greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) for health care ones.

An author of the study, William Wright said, “Readings obtained with NCITs are influenced by numerous human, environmental and equipment variables, all of which can affect their accuracy, reproducibility, and relationship with the measure closest to what could be called the ‘body temperature’ or the core temperature, or the temperature of blood in the pulmonary vein.”

“However, the only way to reliably take the core temperature requires catheterization of the pulmonary artery, which is neither safe nor practical as a screening test,” he said.

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