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Myths and methodologies: degrees of freedom – limitations of infrared thermographic screening for Covid‐19 and other infections

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Around the planet, in many different scenarios, skin temperature is being used as a surrogate measure of deep body (core) temperature in the assessment of whether an individual is infected with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2), which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid‐19, or C‐19), as indicated by the presence of fever. The key question is whether this is a valid methodology. If it is not, we run the risk of falsely excluding individuals from places they may want, or need, to go. We also run the risk of falsely allowing people into places where they can spread the undetected infection they have. In this review, we explore these and associated questions.

We establish the limited utility of the current methodology for the mass screening of individuals for Covid‐19 related fever using infrared thermography. We propose an alternative method that should be more sensitive.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Physiology
Early online date12 Jan 2021
Publication statusEarly online - 12 Jan 2021


  • Degrees of freedom

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Mekjavic, IB, Tipton, MJ. Myths and methodologies: Degrees of freedom – limitations of infrared thermographic screening for Covid‐19 and other infections. Experimental Physiology. 2021; 1– 10., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 1.23 MB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 12/01/22

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