Background: Coronavirus disease, which initially appeared in Wuhan, China during the month of December 2019, very quickly spread and became a worldwide pandemic. The African continent was not spared. The poor health system and low socioeconomic status in some regions has raised concern on the risk of an epidemic disaster due to the rapid transmission of the virus. This study therefore aims to determine the relationship between the modifications of complete blood count parameters, CRP, and the severity and outcome of SARS-CoV2 infection in the first patients hospitalized at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Libreville (Libreville University Hospital Center) in Gabon.
Methods: This is a prospective study led from April to July 2020 in the COVID infectious department (SICov) of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Libreville (CHUL).
Results: In total, 184 patients participated in the study. The median age was 47 (37 - 54) years. Male subjects predominated. The median number of leucocytes was 5.6 (4.4 - 7.45) x 109/L. It was significantly higher in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and in intensive care units (ICU) compared to pauci-symptomatic cases (p < 0.01). Factors associated with death were leukocytosis (crude OR 37.1 (8.3 - 98.4) p < 0.01), neutrophilia (OR 20.1 (4.6 - 89.0) p < 0.01), NRL ≥ 9 (OR 13.5 (2.7 - 67.4); p < 0.01) and CRP > 100 mg/L (OR 17.8 (2.0 - 154.0) p = 0.02).
Conclusions: The hematological profile of patients with COVID-19 varies according to the severity of the disease. Leukocytosis, neutrophilia, a NLR above 6 and a CRP higher than 100 mg/L were associated with the severity of the infection and death in Gabonese patients.