OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence and associated factors of COVID-19 in people with flu-like syndrome in Ceará, Brazil .
BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has led to a worldwide public health emergency . More than 30,000 cases were confirmed in Brazil, especially in the States of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Ceará . The capital of the Ceará State is the one with the highest incidence of COVID-19 in Brazil . Estimating the prevalence of the disease and its associated factors is important to offer adequate health care .
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study with secondary data of people notified with flu-like syndrome and COVID-19 test results .
METHODS: 19,967 cases of flu-like syndrome were analysed according to the result of the COVID-19 test . Predictive variables were as follows: age range, sex, women in puerperium, presence or absence of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, haematological illness, immunodeficiencies, neurological diseases, obesity, renal diseases and Down syndrome . Robust Poisson regression models estimated the prevalence ratios of COVID-19 . The research was reported via STROBE guidelines for cross-sectional studies .
RESULTS: The prevalence of COVID-19 in the population was 10.37% . In the final model, the following variables were associated with COVID-19: aged people, male sex, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes .
CONCLUSION: Among the flu-like syndrome cases, COVID-19 prevalence was high . In the Ceará State, clinical factors such as aged people, male sex, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes can enhance the prevalence of COVID-19 by up to 2.57 times . RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The identification of factors that are associated with the enhanced prevalence of COVID-19 facilitates early diagnosis, and adequate and prompt treatment . This knowledge may avoid an unfavourable prognosis of the disease.